“Dans.. les pas de..
In the.. footsteps of..
For an hour and a half.. watching a film-documentary on her life journey..
I was enthralled and in complete awe of this.. amazing woman.
I again followed in her path by climbing up a deep, steep escalator.. right into the heart of the Quartier Latin – Place Monge – from which I walked in search of L‘Institut Curie.
My first stop was at the corner of rue Pierre et Marie Curie, which was “juste en face“.. opposite the institute.. as well as a cluster of scientific and medical research institutions and the lab in which she so tirelessly and passionately worked with her very beloved Pierre – her husband and fellow physicist and scientist.
One could almost feel her presence.. her aura.. in those silent but extremely effective buildings, which have been using her scientific discoveries for decades.
Marie Skłodowska-Curie.. born on the 7th of November 1867.. was a Polish physicist, chemist, and two-time Nobel Prize Laureate – the first woman recipient in its history.
Born in Warsaw.. to headmaster and science professor parents.. after her graduation from school and subsequent scientific training, she followed her eldest sister Bronisława in 1891 to study in Paris.. where she excelled by earning her higher degrees and where she conducted her future scientific work.
Marie Curie’s “theory of radioactivity“.. as she coined her outstanding achievement.. consisted of her technique of “isolating radioactive isotopes and the discovery of two elements, polonium (named after her beloved country) and radium“. She founded the Curie Institute in Paris and in Warsaw.. they both remain centers of medical research until the present time.
She also established the first military field radiological hospitals during the First World War.
Renting a garret in the “Quartier Latin“.. she studied physics, chemistry, and mathematics at the Sorbonne.. (University of Paris).. studying during the day and tutoring in the evenings. By 1894, having secured a fellowship.. Marie earned her second degree.
She met Pierre Curie.. her future husband.. who was an instructor at the “École supérieure de physique et de chimie industrielles de la ville de Paris“ (School of Physics and Chemistry).. that same year. Their mutual interest in the Sciences was a force that led them to become inseparable partners.. They had two daughters.. Irène who followed in her mother’s footsteps.. and Ève.
In Pierre.. Marie found “a new love, a partner, and a scientific collaborator on whom she could depend”. His death on the 19th of April 1906 was a huge blow to her.
She was.. devastated.
Was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. She also was the only woman to win in two fields.. and the only person to win in multiple sciences. She was also the first woman to become a professor at “La Sorbonne“.
Died on the 4th of July 1934.. from “aplastic anemia”.. contracted by her long-term exposure to radiation. She did so much to help humanity in treating diseases.. but did not realise that her discovering radium would have such damaging effect on her health.
Having been interred with her beloved husband Pierre in a cemetery in Sceaux.. they were both transferred.. sixty years later.. to the Panthéon in Paris.. yet again.. becoming the first and only woman to be honoured with internment in the Panthéon.. on the basis of her achievement alone.
Voted in the “New Scientist”.. as “the most inspirational woman in Science”.. numerous locations and scientific institutes are named after her globally. In 2007.. a metro station in Paris was re-named in honour of both Curies. Her laboratory is preserved as the Musée Curie in Paris since 1992.
Books have been written.. dedicated to her: “Madame Curie“.. by her daughter Ève.. A biography: “Marie Curie: A Life” by Françoise Giroud.. Barbara Goldsmith wrote “Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie“.. and most recently “Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie, a Tale of Love and Fallout” appeared by Lauren Redniss.
Films.. works of art.. and many other tributes have been dedicated to her.. most recently the film starring Rosamund Pike entitled “Radioactive“.. by Marjane Satrapi.
“Une femme extraordinaire“..
A woman.. extraordinary..