Marie Curie featuredMarie Curie is remembered for her discovery of radium and polonium, and her huge contribution to the fight against cancer.

After her mother died and her father could no longer support her she became a governess, reading and studying in her own time to quench her thirst for knowledge. She never lost this passion.

Her sister offered her lodgings in Paris with a view to going to university, she grasped the opportunity and moved to France in 1891.

She immediately entered Sorbonne University in Paris where she read physics and mathematics – she had naturally discovered a love of the subjects through her insatiable appetite for learning.

It was in Paris, in 1894, that she met Pierre Curie – a scientist working in the city – and who she married a year later.

The Curies became research workers at the School of Chemistry and Physics in Paris and there they began their pioneering work into invisible rays given off by uranium – a new phenomenon which had recently been discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel.

In 1903 Marie and Pierre were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics jointly with Henri Becquerel for their combined, though separate, work on radioactivity. In the same year, Marie passed her doctorate thesis in Physics.

When World War I broke out in 1914, Curie suspended her research and organized a fleet of mobile X-ray machines for doctors on the front.

After the war, she worked hard to raise money for her Radium Institute. But by 1920, she was experiencing health problems, likely because of her exposure to radioactive materials. On July 4, 1934, Curie died of aplastic anemia — a condition that occurs when bone marrow fails to produce new blood cells.

Curie was buried next to her husband in Sceaux, a commune in southern Paris. But in 1995, their remains were moved and interred in the Pantheon in Paris alongside France’s greatest citizens. The Curies received another honor in 1944 when the 96th element on the periodic table of elements was discovered and named “curium.”

Below, we look at some of Marie Curie’s most inspirational quotes:


“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

“One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.”

“A scientist in his laboratory is not a mere technician: he is also a child confronting natural phenomena that impress him as though they were fairy tales.”

“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”

“I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy.”

“There are sadistic scientists who hurry to hunt down errors instead of establishing the truth.”

“It is my earnest desire that some of you should carry on this scientific work and keep for your ambition the determination to make a permanent contribution to science.”

“I am one of those who think like Nobel, that humanity will draw more good than evil from new discoveries.”

“I have frequently been questioned, especially by women, of how I could reconcile family life with a scientific career. Well, it has not been easy.”

“All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child.”

“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end each of us must work for his own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.”

“I am among those who think that science has great beauty.”