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Curie, Marie (1867–1934)





Marie Curie
Polish-born French physicist, born Marja Sklodowska, who, with her French-born husband Pierre Cure (1859–1906), was an early investigator of radioactivity, discovering the radioactive elements polonium and radium in the mineral pitchblende (1898). For this the Curies shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with Henri Becquerel. After the death of Pierre, Marie went on to investigate the chemistry and medical applications of radium and was awarded the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry in recognition of her isolation of the pure metal. She died of leukemia caused by long exposure to radiation.

Pierre Curie is also noted for the discovery with his brother Jacques of piezoelectricity (1880) and for his investigation of the effect of temperature on magnetic properties. In particular he discovered the Curie temperature, the temperature above which ferromagnetic materials display only paramagnetism (1895).

The Curies' elder daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, was also a noted physicist.


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