Marie Skłodowska Curie (November 7, 1867 – July 4, 1934) was a physicist and chemist of Polish upbringing and, subsequently, French citizenship. She was a pioneer in the field of radioactivity, the only person honored with Nobel Prizes in two different sciences, and the first female professor at the University of Paris.
She was born Maria Skłodowska in Warsaw, Vistula Country, Russian Empire, and lived there until she was 24. In 1891 she followed her elder sister Bronisława to study in Paris, where she obtained her higher degrees and conducted her subsequent scientific work. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and Warsaw. Her husband Pierre Curie was also a Nobel laureate, as were her daughter Irène Joliot-Curie and son-in-law Frédéric Joliot-Curie.
Her achievements include the creation of a theory of radioactivity (a term coined by her), techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two new elements, polonium and radium. It was also under her personal direction that the world's first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms ("cancers"), using radioactive isotopes.
While an actively loyal French citizen, she never lost her sense of Polish identity. She named the first new chemical element that she discovered (1898) "polonium" for her native country, and in 1932 she founded a Radium Institute (now the Maria Skłodowska–Curie Institute of Oncology) in her home town Warsaw, headed by her physician-sister Bronisława.
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