There have been few people that have matched up to the scientific know how of the Curie family. The Curie family has received the most Nobel Prizes in history. Marie Curie, the matriarch of the family, was the first women to win a Nobel Prize and is the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two separate fields of science. Her accomplishments include describing the theory of “radioactivity” as well as coining the term; she also discovered to elements, polonium and radium. The theories of radioactivity helped during World War I where she assisted on the front lines in creating x-ray images for the paramedics. Nowadays, her research has pioneered the use of x-rays in all fields of medicine.
Marie Curie is a defining historical figure. Her story is one of struggle early on and yet her accomplishments have yet to be equaled by any other figure in her fields and beyond. Born in Warsaw on the 7th of November 1867, she was the youngest of five. Her family lost their fortune due to their involvement of the fight for Polish independence. Marie’s father was a chemistry and physics teacher, and when the Russian’s authorized the discontinuation of laboratory instruction in school her father brought his work home; this is where Marie began her curiosity in the fields of chemistry and physics. At the age of 16 she graduated from school, and spent the year thereafter tutoring. Unable to attend university due to her gender, she and her sister got involved in the Flying University, which taught a pro-polish curriculum in defiance against the Russian authorities, and allowed females to attend. In 1891 Marie Curie left Poland for France, where she attended the Sorbonne. In that same year, through a mutual friend, she met her future husband Pierre Curie. It was their love of science that initially brought them closer together. Shortly thereafter he proposed, and initially she refused him because she wanted to return to Poland, but he said he would follow her to Poland, even if he had to teach French to make money. During the summer of 1894, Marie returned to Poland where she hoped she would be accepted at Krakow University, but she was denied for the simple fact of being a woman. A letter from Pierre convinced her to return to France to pursue a P.h.D (Marie Curie,biography).
In December 1903 Marie and Pierre Curie along with Henri Bacquerel were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics. Initially she was not supposed to receive the prize but Pierre insisted on it. In 1906 Pierre was killed in a horrific accident, which devastated Marie. Following his death the Sorbonne physics department gave Pierre’s chair to Marie; where she hoped to create a world-class laboratory in honor of her late husband. She became the first women to teach at the Sorbonne. In 1911 she received her second Nobel Prize for her advancement in the field of chemistry for the discovery of radium and polonium. During World War I she became the director of the Red Cross radiology service and set up France’s first military radiology center. In the end it was Marie’s genius that killed her. On July 4 1934, she died from aplastic anemia most likely brought on by her exposure to radiation (Marie Curie).
All of these elements of Marie Curie’s life would be put into my film. Her passion for science and her devotion to it have meant great things for the fields of not just chemistry and physics but also medicine. Yet, it is her struggles and love for her family that she excelled in fields that were so uncommon for women at the time.
“Marie Curie” BBC-History (web) 4 September 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/curie_marie.shtml
“Marie Curie. Biography. Bio-True Story. (web) 4 September 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.biography.com/people/marie-curie-9263538