Marya Salomea Sklodowska was born on 7 November 1867 in Warsaw, Poland. During the increasingly overwhelming Russian occupation, her father, a teacher, lost his job. Marya's sister Sofia and her mother were both taken by typhoid fever. To escape despair, Marya clings to work, family and her oppressed homeland.
One of Marya's sisters, Bronia, who dreams of studying medicine, is forced to go abroad because in Poland women are not yet admitted to university. Marya helped her to finance her studies in Paris and a few years later Bronia helped her in turn.
In September 1891, at the age of 24, Marya was finally able to begin her studies in Paris. As soon as she arrived, she enrolled at the Sorbonne and changed her name to Marie Sklodowska.
In July 1893, the young Pole was awarded first place in the physics degree. This achievement earned her a grant from the Polish government, which enabled her to take a degree in mathematics and at the same time to begin research into the properties of certain steels in Professor Lippmann's laboratory. In the spring of 1894, she met Pierre Curie, who at the age of 35 was already a famous physicist. They married on 25 July 1895 at the town hall in Sceaux.
On 12 September 1897, their first child, Irène, was born. But motherhood did not stop the young woman: in October 1897, Marie Curie, aged thirty, chose as the subject of her thesis the study of the properties of uranium rays.
On 25 June 1903, Marie defended her thesis entitled "Research on radioactive substances". In November, she was awarded the Davy Medal by the Royal Society of London and on 10 December, the Curies, together with Henri Becquerel, received the Nobel Prize in Physics. However, health problems prevented them from receiving the prize in Stockholm. On 19 April 1906, Pierre Curie died, run over by a horse-drawn carriage. Marie was left alone with her two daughters.
On 1 May 1906, Marie Curie was appointed to the chair of physics at the Sorbonne, previously held by her husband. She thus became the first woman in France to hold a professorship in higher education. A few years later, in 1911, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 1914, she created the Radium Institute.
On 4 July 1934, Marie Curie died of leukaemia.
● Jean-Pierre Camilleri et Jean Coursaget: Pionniers de la radiothérapie, 2005, Collection Sciences et Histoire EDP Sciences Editions.
● Henri Gidel : Marie Curie, Flammarion, 2008, 380 p.