Madame Curie: A Biography

Madame Curie: A Biography

Eve Curie

Language: English

Pages: 448

ISBN: 0306810387

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Marie Sklodowska Curie (1867–1934) was the first woman scientist to win worldwide acclaim and was, indeed, one of the great scientists of the twentieth century. Written by Curie’s daughter, the renowned international activist Eve Curie, this biography chronicles Curie’s legendary achievements in science, including her pioneering efforts in the study of radioactivity and her two Nobel Prizes in Physics and Chemistry. It also spotlights her remarkable life, from her childhood in Poland, to her storybook Parisian marriage to fellow scientist Pierre Curie, to her tragic death from the very radium that brought her fame. Now updated with an eloquent, rousing introduction by best-selling author Natalie Angier, this timeless biography celebrates an astonishing mind and a extraordinary woman’s life.

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high distinction bestowed upon me is motivated by this work in common and thus constitutes a homage to the memory of Pierre Curie. A great discovery, universal celebrity, and two Nobel prizes had fixed the admiration of a great many contemporaries upon Marie—and therefore the animosity of a great many others. Malice burst upon her in a sudden squall and attempted to annihilate her. A perfidious campaign was set going in Paris against this woman of forty-four, fragile, worn out by crushing toil,

a warmonger nor a partisan by taking her part in the great struggle. It is a pure scientist that we find, in 1919, at the head of her laboratory. She had looked forward with fervor to the moment when the buildings in the Rue Pierre Curie would hum with activity. Her first care was not to spoil the exceptional work accomplished during the war: the service of emanations, the distribution of “active” little tubes to the hospitals, continued under the direction of Dr Regaud, who had taken possession

the workmen, like the others, felt her hidden attraction, an attraction unique in the world. On the day when Marie engaged a chauffeur of her own, the factotum of the institute—Georges Boiteux, who was day laborer, mechanic, chauffeur and gardener all in one—could be seen weeping bitterly at the idea that from now on another man would drive Mme Curie from the Rue Pierre Curie to the Quai de Béthune every day. Marie was attached, by an affection which she seldom showed, to all those who worked

Geneva, 1931 Honorary Member of the American College of Radiology, April 16, 1931 Foreign Corresponding Member of the Madrid Academy of Exact Natural Physical Sciences, April 25, 1931 Member of the Imperial German Academy of Natural Sciences, Halle, March 18, 1932 Honorary Member of the Society of Medicine of Warsaw, June 28, 1932 Honorary Member of the Czechoslovakian Chemistry Society, September 24, 1932 Honorary Member of the British Institute of Radiology and Roentgen Society, London,

endowed with this particular “radiance,” were called radio elements. Radioactivity so fascinated the young scientist that she never tired of examining the most diverse forms of matter, always by the same method. Curiosity, a marvelous feminine curiosity, the first virtue of a scientist, was developed in Marie to the highest degree. Instead of limiting her observation to simple compounds, salts and oxides, she had the desire to assemble samples of minerals from the collection at the School of

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