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Marie Curie is Today’s Google Doodle

November 7, 2011

Marie Curie Google doodle

Today's Google Doodle

Today’s Google doodle celebrates the 144th anniversary of Polish-born physicist Marie Curie’s birth.  Madame Curie was a remarkable woman and scientist celebrated the world over for her massive achievements in scientific research and professional advancement.  Born Marie Sklodowska in Warsaw, Poland on November 7, 1867 she was the youngest of five children born to a secondary school teacher and his wife.  At the age of 24 she moved to Paris, France to study at the Sorbonne, where she earned degrees in Physics and Mathematics.  During her studies she met and married and Pierre Curie, a professor in the Sorbonne’s Department of Physics.  The Curie’s early work pioneering the study of naturally occurring radioactive elements earned them the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903.  Once she earned her Doctorate in Science (also in 1903), Mme. Curie took over her husband’s position as head of the Physics Laboratory at the Sorbonne and upon M. Curie’s death in 1906 she took over his position as Professor of General Physics,  the first woman to hold such a position at the Sorbonne.  In 1911 the Nobel Committee again recognized Mme. Curie’s work in radioactivity, including her work on the discovery and characterization of radium and polonium, and awarded her a second, unshared Nobel in Chemistry, making her the first person to be awarded a Nobel in two different fields*.  In 1914 she was appointed Director of the Curie Laboratory in the Radium Institute at the University of Paris, where she continued her work in radioactivity.  Tragically, Mme. Curie’s work caused extensive exposure to radioactive elements before the dangers of these elements were fully understood.  She developed aplastic anemia and died in southeastern France in 1934, aged 66.

* Marie and Pierre Curie are also the parents of a Nobel Winner.  Their daughter Irene Joliot-Curie shared the 1935 Nobel in Chemistry with her husband, Frederic Joliot for their work on the synthesis of artificial (man-made) radioactive elements.

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