Happy 150th Birthday, Madame Curie!

On the 150th anniversary of Marie Curie’s birth, I thought I would share a few interesting tidbits about her that I had learned a few years ago at an AAAS session celebrating the 100th anniversary of her Nobel Prize:

  • Her second paper was the first time the word “radioactive” was used in the literature (and was probably the birth of radio chemistry).1
  • she chose not to patent her work because she felt all scientific research should be freely available to the public.2
  • In 1910 she applied to the French Academy of Sciences. She lost by 2 votes and then refused to ever publish in their journals again.3

Read a book by or about this great woman:

Preston, D. (2005). Before the fallout: From Marie Curie to Hiroshima. New York: Walker & Co. (Q175.5 .P74 2005)

Quinn, S. (1995). Marie Curie: A life. New York: Simon & Schuster. (QD22 .C8Q56 1995)

Curie, M. (1961). Radioactive substances: A translation from the French of the classical thesis presented to the Faculty of Sciences in Paris by the distinguished Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie. New York: Philosophical Library.(QC795 .C823)

Emling, S. (2012). Marie Curie and her daughters: The private lives of science’s first family (First ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan. (QD22.C8 E46 2012)

Curie, Eve, & Sheean, Vincent. (1937). Madame Curie: A biography (Da Capo series in science). Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Doran & Company. (QD22.C8 C85 1937)


1Byers, N., & Williams, Gary A. (2006). Out of the shadows : Contributions of twentieth-century women to physics. Cambridge, UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press. Chapter 4, Marie Curie (1867 – 1934), reproduced here.)

2Valentinuzzi, ME. (2017) Three Outstanding Women in Science. IEEE Pulse, September/October:57.

a name=”three”>3“JAN. 23, 1911: SCIENCE ACADEMY TELLS MARIE CURIE, ‘NON'”. Wired.