15 Marie Curie Facts You Should Know

6. The Curie duo discovered Polonium and Radium

Marie Curie Discoveries

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Here is a fact about two discoveries that can be regarded as one of the most prominent Marie Curie Inventions. The Curie couple first discovered Polonium and then went on to discover Radium, both highly radioactive elements. The couple worked day and night on the mineral called pitchblende that contained Uranium. They found out that this mineral was more radioactive than uranium and after a lot of research and studies discovered an extract of a black powder that they named Polonium. This mineral was 330 times more radioactive than uranium. Once the experiment was over, they started analyzing the residual liquid which was found to be highly radioactive. Soon they found the existence of another element called Radium.

7. President Harding gifted her with a gram of radium

Marie Curie Discoveries

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U.S President Harding presented Marie Curie with a gram of radium that was worth over $100,000 in 1921 when she was on her first trip to the United States of America. In her trip, she toured the U.S from New York City to Chicago and then to Washington D.C. Since she was a pioneer in the field of radioactivity and had a mass women following, President Harding gifted her a gram of radium. In his address speech to Marie Curie, he said “We greet you as foremost among scientists in the age of science, as leader among women in the generation which sees woman come tardily into her own”.

8. The Curie duo worked in a converted shed

Marie Curie Inventions

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The major Marie Curie discoveries were made at a makeshift laboratory as the couple did not own a full fledged lab and had to covert a shed for carrying on with their research work. Both Pierre and Marie were brilliant scientists but never owned a well equipped lab. So, what they did was they converted a shed located next to the School of Physics and Chemistry into a workable lab. One of the most hilarious comments about the shed turned lab was made by a German scientist named Wilhelm Ostwald and it went like this “a cross between a stable and a potato shed”! The lab didn’t even have good ventilation and water proofing.

9. Marie Curie and Albert Einstein were good friends

 Nobel Prize Winner

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Albert Einstein was a very close friend of Marie Curie and held her in high regard. He was asked once as to which physicists he admired most to which he mentioned two names – Marie Curie and Hendrik Lorentz. Both of them had a long association and met way back in 1909. They were not only friends but colleagues too. Marie took family vacations with Einstein to Swiss Alps and many more wonderful places.

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10. She received a lot of flak from the public for her brief affair with Paul Langevin

 Nobel Prize Winner

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Marie Curie had her share with misfortunes, one among them being her brief tryst or affair with a married man called Paul Langevin who was one of her late husband’s former students. After she became a widow, she started a romantic relationship with Langevin, four years after Pierre’s death. Langevin was married with four children, and this forced the lovers to rent a secret hideout in Paris. However, his wife found out the love letters and reported this to the press, thereby drawing all the unwanted publicity for Marie who was called a home wrecker. Soon the public started criticizing her and this forced Marie to go in hiding. She started living with her daughter in a friend’s house and refrained from going out. The situation worsened when the members of the Nobel Prize committee asked her not to come for the ceremony.