Marie Sklodowska Curie was born in the 19th century in Poland in an impoverished family. Despite the strong urge for knowledge and science, Marie Curie had almost no prospect of entering the university. The patriarchal society of that time had a negative attitude towards all attempts by women to contribute to science and society. In addition, the girl’s family was on the verge of poverty, so Marie Curie and her sister Bronislava agreed to receive schooling in turn, supporting each other. The girls had to leave for Paris, as their thirst for learning was not encouraged in their homeland (Pospieszny, 2019). A poor Polish girl of the 19th century had to have extraordinary fortitude and courage to embark on this path with no support from parents and society.
A Great Contribution to Science through Hard Work
Marie Curie had a clear goal which she passionately followed all her life. The woman successfully graduated from Sorbonne and became the first female professor there, encouraging many followers with her example. Her husband, Pierre Curie, was also a physicist and an ardent admirer of science. In 1903, Marie Curie and her spouse acquired the Nobel Prize in Physics. The woman later received her own Nobel Prize for polonium and radium discovery (Loap et al., 2021). Thus, she became the first woman to receive the prestigious award and the first scientist to receive recognition in two distinct domains. The path to triumph was significantly marred by severe discrimination and distrust of other scientists. It was possible to convince the doubters only by isolating a small amount of pure radium, which was exceedingly demanding and detrimental to health. The couple worked for four years for free, doing the hard-physical labor and risking their health and careers (Loap, 2021). They believed implicitly in a higher purpose and were willing to take risks. Marie Curie worked on a par with her husband, not afraid of hard work, condemnation, or severe danger.
Contribution to Medicine and Thousands of Lives Saved during the War
Marie Sklodowska Curie became the world’s first medical physicist. She was the first experimenter to introduce physics into medicine, diagnosis, and treatment processes. This interweaving of medicine and physics led to the emergence of the new branch of science that was called medical physics. Marie Curie was the founder of radiology, which has successfully grown to advanced X-ray, computed, magnetic resonance, and positron emission tomography. The First World War showed the invaluable help of her works and research. Marie Curie got the position of the director of the Radiological Service of the Red Cross, organized the production of X-ray machines for the front, and invested almost all the funds from the Nobel Prize. The woman went to the front line to train personnel to search for bullets and other fragments in wounds using X-rays (Loap et al., 2021). These actions manifest great love for humanity and exceptional self-sacrifice for the sake of a grand purpose.
Life and Death in the Name of Science
Even sickness could not break her endurance and passion for research work. Assuming on the biographies, the precursors of chronic radiation sickness from long-term operating with radium began to appear even before receiving the awards. Both spouses experienced a decline in vitality, chronic fatigue, and a tendency to colds. The experimenters did not pay attention to these symptoms and were fully absorbed in the research. Perhaps these things partly influenced Pierre’s attentiveness, which is why he fell under the wheels of a horse-drawn cart. Their daughter noted that Marie Curie did not sleep well, lost weight, repeatedly complained of severe headaches, lack of appetite, and poor memory. Despite this, the woman remained dedicated to her work till the end and devoted all her time to research. When she died, her doctor concluded that symptoms and radiation were related (Pospieszny, 2019). The results obtained gave impetus to new research and served as the basis for the health safety of all following generations. Thus, even the death of Marie Sklodowska Curie made a significant contribution to the study of physics and medicine.
Loap, P., Huynh, R., Kirova, Y. (2021). The centenary of the foundation Curie (1921-2021). Astro, 110(2), pp. 331–336. Web.
Pospieszny, T. (2019). Maria Sklodowska Curie – the first lady of nuclear physics. Journal of contemporary brachytherapy, 11(6), pp. 505–509. Web.