Mar

11

Polish physicist and chemist Marie Curie (November 7, 1867 – July 4, 1934), born Maria Sklodowska, might have objected to such homages – for she famously cautioned that “in science, we must be interested in things, not in persons.” And yet it was the person behind the science – driven yet humble, passionate yet pragmatic – that made the mother of radioactivity not only the first woman to win a Nobel Prize but also the only person to date to win a Nobel in two different sciences, physics in 1903 and chemistry in 1911.

With her spirit of creative restlessness, Curie was never one to rest on her laurels, contributing one of history’s most aspirational definitions of science in stating, “One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.”

But immersed as she was in her scientific work, Curie was also a woman of uncommon romantic enchantment, with a vibrant love life that included falling in love with a future celebrity-mathematician, the son at the family where she worked as a governess, a bicycle honeymoon with her collaborator and husband, Pierre Curie, and a passionate love affair with physicist Paul Langevin after Pierre’s sudden death in a freak accident.

Still, Curie never compromised her scientific pursuits. Her 1937 biography, written by her daughter Eve, illustrates Curie’s dedication to lab work with a telling anecdote: When the elderly mother of Marie’s brother-in-law proposed to buy her a wedding dress for her marriage to Pierre in July 1895, Curie instructed:

I have no dress except the one I wear every day. If you are going to be kind enough to give me one, please let it be practical and dark so that I can put it on afterwards to go to the laboratory.

657 notes

  1. berezina reblogged this from thereconstructionists and added:
    (via thereconstructionists)
  2. iseekrandomstuff reblogged this from womenrockscience
  3. resistiryexistir reblogged this from microrrhizae
  4. ultrav-violence reblogged this from womenrockscience
  5. lloydxcx reblogged this from womenrockscience
  6. pointeblanck reblogged this from thereconstructionists
  7. lorelei668 reblogged this from thereconstructionists
  8. esacosailegal reblogged this from womenrockscience
  9. xluisafer reblogged this from sagansense and added:
    Polish physicist and chemist Marie Curie (November 7, 1867 – July 4, 1934), born Maria Sklodowska, might have objected...
  10. waiting-f-o-r-the-tardis reblogged this from sweater-trash
  11. sweater-trash reblogged this from newagenaturalist
  12. microrrhizae reblogged this from newagenaturalist
  13. seizethedecorum reblogged this from mxjoshuafranklinstein
  14. sparky-bliss reblogged this from mxjoshuafranklinstein
  15. roonil--wazlib reblogged this from geminare
  16. mxjoshuafranklinstein reblogged this from geminare
  17. geminare reblogged this from sux-blog
  18. sux-blog reblogged this from missense-and-nonsense
  19. missense-and-nonsense reblogged this from newagenaturalist
  20. newagenaturalist reblogged this from womenrockscience and added:
    Happy International Women’s Day!
  21. milevas reblogged this from thereconstructionists
  22. yourbullfighterjacket reblogged this from womenrockscience
  23. gocriminalmastermind reblogged this from womenrockscience
  24. treesandtea reblogged this from thereconstructionists
  25. weonlyhaveonechance reblogged this from whitewingedalbatross
  26. g1rlanachronism reblogged this from whitewingedalbatross
  27. whitewingedalbatross reblogged this from thereconstructionists
  28. sadomathochist reblogged this from thereconstructionists
  29. mechanicalpoet reblogged this from schrodingerscatisdead
  30. belarude reblogged this from sagansense
  31. yutke reblogged this from howstuffworks
  32. householdsaint reblogged this from lugola
  33. pen-name-not-available reblogged this from howstuffworks
  34. derpy-herp reblogged this from lugola
  35. lugola reblogged this from thereconstructionists