MARIE SKLODOWSKA CURIE:
Her Life as a Media Compendium
The following is an account of the life Marie Sklodowska Curie presented as a series of simulated news articles that might have been written during her life time.
THE WARSAW TIMES
Maria Sklodowska born, Warsaw, Poland, 7 November, 1867; parents, Wladyslaw and Bronislawa Boguska Sklodowska
Sophie Skolodowska (1863), eldest daughter of Professor Wladyslaw and Madame Bronislawa Sklodowska died in January,1876 of typhus. She is survived by her parents, three sisters, Bronia, Hela, Maria and one brother Joseph.
Bronislaw Skodowska, nee Boguska, succumbed to tuberculosis after a long illness on 9 May,1878. During her lifetime she successfully managed a private boarding school for girls. She is survived by her husband Wladyslaw Sklodowska and her three daughters, Bronia, Hela and Maria and one son, Joseph.
LOCAL GIRL GRADUATES WITH TOP HONORS
Maria Sklodowska crowned her brilliant high school career by graduating first in her class of 1883. She was awarded a gold medal for her outstanding achievements. Maria continues the family tradition of academic excellence. She is the fourth Sklodowska child to receive this great distinction.
Help Wanted: (Maria's First Position)
Governess, teacher, disciplinarian, bilinguist for two young girls; position open on 1 January, 1886. Inquire: M. Zorawski, Czartoryski Estate, Szezuki, Plock district, Poland.
THE PARIS TIMES
FEMALE TAKES TOP HONORS
At the graduation ceremonies conducted at the Sorbonne on 28 July, 1894, Maria Sklodowska took second honors in mathematics. Professors Appell and Bouty spoke highly of her gifts and enthusiasm. Professor Lippman has agreed to allow her to work in his laboratory. Only last year did Marie obtain her license in Physics, having ranked first in the graduating class.
On 26 July, 1895, in Sceaux, France, Marie Sklodowska, daughter of Professor Wladyslaw Sklodowska of Warsaw, Poland became the wife of Pierre Curie, son of Dr.and Mme. Eugene Curie of Sceaux, France in a simple civil ceremony. A reception, held in the garden of the Curie home, immediately followed the ceremony. The couple plan to honeymoon by bicycling in the countryside surrounding Paris.
Irene Curie, born 12 September, 1897; Paris, parents, Pierre and Marie Curie.
A FIRST!!!! WOMAN WINS NOBEL PRIZE
The 1903 Nobel Prize for Physics was jointly awarded to Pierre and Marie Sklodowska Curie and Henri Becquerel for the discovery of the two radioactive elements, radium and polonium. The Curies isolated the chloride salts of the elements from uranium-free pitchblende through qualitative analysis and then purified these salts using a series of multiple fractional crystallizations. The presence of these salts were detected using the electrometer, invented by Pierre. Because of the low concentration of these newly discovered elements, it required approximately one ton of the pitchblende to produce 0.1 gram of the salt. Much of the work was done as the subject of Mme. Curie's doctoral thesis in Physics in 1898. She coined the term, radioactivity, and named the elements Polonium, after her native country, Poland, and radium for its radiant blue glow. Pierre and Marie's research also included the electric, photographic, luminous, heat, and color effects of radioactivity. Their future goals include plans to isolate and study the properties of the pure metals.
Eve Curie, born 6 December, 1904; Paris , parents, Pierre and Marie Curie.
TRAFFIC ACCIDENT CLAIMS LIFE OF NOBEL PRIZE WINNER PIERRE CURIE
19 April, 1906: Pierre Curie, who held the Physics chair at the Sorbonne for the past two years, died yesterday as a result of the injuries sustained in a traffic accident. He was struck by a horse-drawn wagon as he walked from his laboratory. He is well known for his discovery of piezoelectricity and for his invention of the electrometer. Most recently, together with his wife and colleague, Marie Curie, and Henri Becquerel, Pierre won the Nobel prize in Physics for their discovery of radioactivity (1903). He is survived by his wife, Marie, two young daughters, Irene and Eve, his father, Dr. Eugene Curie, and one brother, Jacques Curie.
MARIE CURIE: FIRST WOMAN LECTURER AT THE SORBONNE
Marie Curie has been invited to occupy the Physics chair at the Sorbonne held by her late husband, Pierre Curie, until his recent accidental death. Madame Curie, Nobel prize winner and authority on radioactivity, plans to continue the work she started with her husband. Her inaugural lecture, scheduled for 5 November, 1906 at 1:30 p.m.will explain the theory of ions in gases and her treatise on radioactivity. This will be a unique occurrence in the history of the Sorbonne and only 120 places will be available for students, public and press.
MADAME CURIE ISOLATES RADIUM - EARNS SECOND NOBEL PRIZE
11 December, 1911, Stockholm, Sweden: For the first time, a person has earned two Nobel prizes. This distinction belongs to a woman, Madame Marie Sklodowska Curie. Professor Curie has already won international acclaim because of her contributions in the discovery of radium and polonium in 1903. Her most recent research isolated radium by electrolyzing molten radium chloride. At the negative electrode the radium formed an amalgam with mercury. Heating the amalgam in a silica tube filled with nitrogen at low pressure boiled away the mercury, leaving pure white deposits of radium. Her work at the Sorbonne shows much promise for medical applications. It is interesting to note that this prize was for individual achievements in Chemistry, whereas the 1903 prize was a collaborative effort with her husband, Pierre, and Henri Becquerel in Physics.
MARIE CURIE JOINS THE WAR EFFORT
1 January, 1915: Nobel laureate, Marie Curie, is using her expertise in science to aid the war efforts in France. With funds from the Union of Women of France, she has converted cars into mobile radiological units. These units, containing portable Roentgen X-ray apparatus and their own dynamo, travel from post to post and are used to help pinpoint the location of shell fragments and bullets in wounds. Due to the efforts of Madame Curie, university laboratories and benefactors have contributed the materials and 150 young women have been selected and trained by her to operate these units. These mobile cars, known as "little curies", and her personal unit, a Renault, are omnipresent on the battlefields.
MARIE CURIE RECEIVES GIFT FROM WOMEN OF AMERICA
20 May, 1921: Through the efforts of the American journalist, Mrs. William Brown Meloney, the women of America have honored Madame Marie Curie with a gift of one gram of radium. In a specially planned White House ceremony, President Warren G. Harding welcomed Madame Curie and her daughters, Irene and Eve, presenting Marie with the gold key to the case holding the radium. Her sacrifice and tireless efforts throughout the war prompted the women of America to grant the fulfillment of her fondest wish. During her stay in the United states, Madame Curie will also visit prominent academic institutes including Yale, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Columbia University and others to receive honorary Doctor of Science degrees, their own acknowledgement of her contributions to science.
THE WORLD MOURNS THE DEATH OF A GREAT WOMAN
4 July, 1934: Sancellemoz, France. Today the world mourns the death of one of its most prominent scientists. Madame Marie Sklodowska Curie succumbed today to a disease caused by the elusive radium that she devoted her life to discovering and eventually isolating. Her life can be described as a series of paradoxes; she was naturally shy and reserved but because of the magnitude of her discoveries, she was frequently thrown into world limelight. When she and her husband, Pierre, discovered a method of separating radium salts from pitchblende, they shared their method freely, choosing not to patent the process. This decision virtually guaranteed a life of poverty in terms of scientific research for them. Marie's faith in science, her tenacity and her strong work ethic allowed her to pursue and realize her dreams. Her pioneering spirit led the way for the discovery of twenty-nine new radioactive isotopes in the period 1903 to 1912. Her work has affected the lives of people everywhere through applications of radioactive principles in medicine, in communication and in industrial technologies. Today, The Radium Institutes in both Warsaw and Paris continue the work Marie and Pierre Curie began. The Curie Institutes stand as living memorials to lives filled with devotion to the pursuit of science.
Eve Curie, Madame Curie, Doubleday, Doran, and Company, Inc., Garden City, N.Y., 1937.
"Marie Curie", Dictionary of Scientific Biographies , III, Charles C. Gillespie, ed., Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, N.Y., pp497-503.
Robert Reid, Marie Curie, The American Library, New York, N.Y., 1978.
Edward Farber, Nobel Prize Winners in Chemistry 1901-1961, Abelard-Schuman, New York, N.Y., 1963, pp.45-48.
Bernard, Jaffe, Crucibles: The Story of Chemistry, Fawcett Publications, Grennwich, Conn., 1967, pp,155-171.
Aaron J. Ihde, The Development of Modern Chemistry, Dover Publication, Inc., New York, N.Y., 1984, pp.487-493.
Woodrow Wilson Leadership Program in Chemistry
The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
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