About the Author
Marie Curie (nee Maria Sklodowska) was born on November 7, 1867, in Warsaw, Poland. Her mother, Bronsilawa Boguska, was an accomplished pianist, singer, and teacher, and her father, Wladyslaw Sklodowski, was a professor of mathematics and physics. A brilliant student, Marie gained a gold medal upon completing her secondary education in 1883. Refused admission to the University of Warsaw because she was a woman, she earned her living as a private tutor and governess. One of her sisters, Bronya, was already studying medicine in Paris, and she encouraged Marie to move there. In November 1891 Marie enrolled at the Sorbonne, where she would earn her doctorate in physics in 1904. In 1894 she met Pierre Curie (1859-1906) at the School of Physics and Chemistry of the University of Paris while working in his laboratory on her research project. They wed in 1895. The Curies began their research into the mysterious radiation from uranium that had been discovered by Antoine Henri Becquerel (1852-1908) and in 1898 announced the discovery of radium. In 1903 the Curies and Becquerel were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for their work on radioactivity. In 1904 Marie published her thesis, RADIOACTIVE SUBSTANCES. After the death of Pierre on April 19, 1906, Curie succeeded her husband as professor of general physics at the Sorbonne, becoming the first woman faculty member in the 650 years of the school's existence. In 1908 she taught the first and at that time the only course on radioactivity ever offered at the Sorbonne. In 1911 she received the Nobel Prize in chemistry for her discovery of polonium and radium and for isolating pure radium. She was the first person ever to receive the award twice. During World War I she organized radiological units for hospitals. She was the director of the research department of the Radium Institute of the University of Paris (1918-1934). Curie died on July 4, 1934, in Valence, France, a victim of exposure to the deadly rays from radium. Her last book, RADIOACTIVITY (1935), was edited by her daughter, Irene, who shared the 1935 Nobel Prize in chemistry with her husband, Jean-Frederic Joliet, for their discovery of new radioactive isotopes prepared artificially. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.