When Obsession Becomes Deadly: The Life of Marie Curie Essay

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When Obsession Becomes Deadly: The Life of Marie Curie Marie Curie, a pioneer in her field and Nobel Prize winning Chemist, took a path that few women of her time dared and unfortunately, her passion for Science would be her ultimate demise. From birth to death Marie Curie lived a full life, with love, work, and passion at the center. Maria Skłodowska was born in Warsaw, Poland, on 7 November 1867, the fifth and youngest child of well-known teachers Bronisława and Władysław Skłodowski. Maria's father was an atheist and her mother a devout Catholic. Two years earlier, Maria's oldest sibling, Zofia, had died of typhus. The deaths of her mother and sister, according to Robert William Reid, caused Maria to give up Catholicism and become…show more content…
In 1893 she was awarded a degree in physics and began work in an industrial laboratory at Lippman's. Meanwhile, she continued studying at the Sorbonne, and in 1894, earned a degree in mathematics. In the same, year Pierre Curie entered her life as an instructor in the School of Physics and Chemistry. A year later Marie and Pierre were married (Georgie 1). Marie decided to look into uranium rays as a possible field of research for a thesis. She used a clever technique to investigate samples (Wikipedia 1). Fifteen years earlier, her husband and his brother had invented the electrometer, a sensitive device for measuring electrical charge. Using the Curie electrometer, she discovered that uranium rays caused the air around a sample to conduct electricity (Yannuzzi 46). Using this technique, her first result was the finding that the activity of the uranium compounds depended only on the quantity of uranium present. Marie had shown that the radiation was not the outcome of some interaction of molecules, but must come from the atom itself. In scientific terms, this was the most important single piece of work that she conducted (Georgie 1). Her electrometer showed that pitchblende was four times as active as uranium itself, and torbernite twice as active. She concluded that, if

her earlier results relating the quantity of uranium to its activity were correct, and then these two minerals must contain

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