Marie Curie A Biography

When asked to name an important woman scientist, most people would only hesitate a short time before answering, “Marie Curie.” The reasons seem obvious. Marie Curie made one of the most important theoretical breakthroughs of the twentieth century when she postulated that radiation was an atomic rather than a chemical property. She was the first person to use the term radioactivity. Her studies motivated a long search that culminated in the isolation of two new elements, polonium and radium. Two aspects of Marie Curie’s scientific genius emerge: creativity and perseverance. Although the imaginative discovery of the atomic nature of radiation is perhaps her most significant contribution, without another characteristic, perseverance, she would have been unable to substantiate her hypothesis. Her scientific work netted her two Nobel Prizes, one in physics and the second in chemistry.

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