Who was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize? In fact, Marie Curie was the first women and the first person to claim Nobel honors twice and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences.
Wondering who was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize? Then you are in the right place. When it comes to record-setting Nobel Prize recipients, there is the amazing Marie Curie and there’s everyone else.
This Polish-French scientist was the first woman to share a Nobel Prize. She shared this physics award with her husband Pierre Curie for their groundbreaking and pioneering work on radioactivity in 1903.
Furthermore, she was also the first woman to receive an unshared Nobel Prize in 1911 in chemistry for her discovery of the elements radium and polonium.
Significantly, these facts make her the only person ever to win two Nobel Prizes in different sciences. Thus, if you want to learn more about the life and professional activities of this amazing woman, just stay tuned to us.
Who was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize?
She not only conquered great secrets of science but the hearts of the people the world over.New York Times
Marie Curie is definitely one of the most famous scientists of all time. Born in Warsaw on 7 November 1867, Marie Sklodowska went to Paris in 1891 to study physics and mathematics where she met Pierre Curie, professor of the School of Physics.
Eventually, these two got married in 1895. They worked together investigating radioactivity and it was in 1898 when the Curies announced the discovery of a new chemical element, namely, polonium.
Some period later they announced the discovery of another element, radium. For these particular achievements, they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. It’s also important to mention that this was a part of five Nobel Prizes of the Curie family legacy.
To be more precise, four of her family members are also Nobel laureates. In addition to her husband Pierre, her daughter and son-in-law shared 1935 chemistry prize, whereas another son-in-law was the director of UNICEF when it won the 1965 peace prize.
Marie Curie’s professional career
After Marie Curie’s husband’s tragic death she took over his teaching post, thus becoming the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris. Furthermore, in 1995 she became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Pantheon of Paris.
Significantly, she devoted all her life to continuing the work that she and Pierre had begun together that resulted in receiving second Nobel Prize, for Chemistry.
Marie Curie’s work and research were quite important in the development of x-rays in surgery. During World War One she helped to organize ambulances with x-ray equipment. Red Cross made her head of the radiological service and she conducted trainings and courses for orderlies and doctors in the new techniques.
Marie also developed some methods for the separation of radium from radioactive residues in sufficient quantities that helped to study its characterization and therapeutic properties. Throughout her life, she actively promoted the use of radium to facilitate suffering and during World War I, she personally devoted herself to this remedial work.
She was so enthusiastic for science throughout her life that she had a goal to establish a radioactivity laboratory in her native city. And it was just a dream come true when in 1929 President Hoover of the US presented her with a gift of $ 50,000 that was donated by American friends of science, to buy radium for use in the laboratory in Warsaw.
Her early researches with her husband were often realized under very difficult conditions as laboratory arrangements were quite poor. They both had to undertake a lot of teaching activities to earn a livelihood.
Despite Curie’s huge success, she continued to face opposition from male scientists, that’s why she never received critical financial benefits from her achievements. Sadly, she died in 1934 from leukemia that was caused because of the interaction with high-energy radiation that she did for her research.
Marie Curie’s legacy
Not only did she do outstanding work in her lifetime, and not only did she help humanity greatly by her work, but she invested all her work with the highest moral quality. All of this she accomplished with great strength, objectivity, and judgment. It is very rare to find all of these qualities in one individual.Albert Einstein
Marie Curie was highly valued and admired by scientists throughout the world and has received numerous tributes from across the globe. She was a member of the Conseil du Physique Solvay, the Committee of Intellectual Co-operation of the League of Nations.
Her works and researches are recorded in numerous scientific journals. She is the author of Recherches sur les Substances Radioactives, L’Isotopie et les Éléments Isotopes and Traité’ de Radioactivité.
The significance of her works is reflected in the numerous awards that she received. In particular, she has many honorary science, medicine and law degrees and honorary memberships of learned societies throughout the world. Jointly with her husband, she also received the Davy Medal of the Royal Society.
Importantly enough in 1921, President Harding presented her with one gram of radium as recognition of her accomplishments and service to science.
Curie’s work contributed substantially to form the world of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. During her path of scientific achievements, she had to overcome numerous barriers that were placed in her way just because she was a woman. Astonishingly, Curie insisted that monetary gifts should be given to the scientific institutions rather than to her.
Moreover, she and her husband often refused to receive awards and medals. As Albert Einstein once remarked she was possibly the only person who could not be corrupted by fame.
By the way, a unit of radioactivity (the curie symbol-Ci) is named in her honor. Furthermore, the element with atomic number 96 and three radioactive minerals are also named after Marie and her husband. You can also find her name on the Monument to the X-ray and Radium Martyrs of All Nations in Hamburg, Germany.
Also, many locations around the world are named after Marie Curie: a metro station in Paris, Polish nuclear research reactor, the 7000 Curie asteroid, several institutions such as the Maria Skłodowska–Curie Institute of Oncology in Warsaw and the Institut Curie in Paris, the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Museum in Warsaw and many other locations.
By the way, her laboratory in Paris is preserved as the Musée Curie. It’s also important to mention that there are many biographies devoted to her, such as Ève Curie “Madame Curie”, Françoise Giroud’s “Marie Curie: A Life”, Barbara Goldsmith’s “Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie” and many others.
So returning to our question of who was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize we can surely claim that as one of the most famous and outstanding women scientists to date, Marie Curie is a true icon in the scientific world.
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