Maria Skłodowska-Curie (born Maria Skłodowska; 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 first twice-honored Nobel laureate (and still the only one in two different sciences) and the first female professor at the University of Paris.
She was born in Warsaw, Congress Poland, Russian Empire, and lived there until she was 24. In 1891 she followed her elder sister to study in Paris, where she obtained her higher degrees and conducted her scientific work. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and Warsaw. She was the wife of fellow-Nobel-laureate Pierre Curie and the mother of a third Nobel laureate, Irène Joliot-Curie.
While an actively loyal French citizen, she never lost her sense of Polish identity. Madame Curie named the first new chemical element that she discovered polonium for her native country.
As one of the most famous female scientists to date, Marie Curie has been an icon in the scientific world and has inspired many tributes and recognitions. In 1995, she was the first and only woman laid to rest under the famous dome of the Panthéon, in Paris, on her own merits, alongside her husband. The curie (symbol Ci), a unit of radioactivity, is named in their honour, as is the element with atomic number 96 - curium.
Skłodowska-Curie's likeness appeared on the Polish late-1980s inflationary 20,000-złoty banknote. Her likeness also appeared on stamps and coins, and on the last French 500-franc note, with her husband, before the franc was made obsolete by the euro.
Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon starred in the 1943 U.S. Oscar-nominated film, Madame Curie, based on her life. "Marie Curie" is also the name of a character in a 1988 comedy, Young Einstein, by Yahoo Serious.
Three radioactive minerals are named after the Curies: curite, sklodowskite, and cuprosklodowskite.
Pierre and Marie Curie University, the largest science, technology and medicine university in France, and successor institution to the faculty of science at the University of Paris, where she taught, is named in honour of her and Pierre. The university is home to the laboratory where they discovered radium.
Another school named for her, Marie Curie M.S. 158, in Bayside, New York, specializes in science and technology as does Curie Metropolitan High School, located in the community area of Archer Heights on Chicago's Southwest Side. It has a Technical, Performing Arts and IB program.
In 2007, the Pierre Curie Paris Métro station was renamed the "Pierre et Marie Curie" station.
The Maria Skłodowska-Curie Medallion, a stained-glass panel created by Jozef C. Mazur, may be found at the University at Buffalo Polish Room.
A KLM McDonnell Douglas MD-11 (registration PH-KCC) is named in her honor.
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