Marie Curie, née Sklodowska
Born: 7 November 1867, Warsaw, Russian Empire (now Poland)
Died: 4 July 1934, Sallanches, France
Affiliation at the time of the award: Sorbonne University, Paris, France
Prize motivation: "in recognition of her services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element"
Field: nuclear chemistry
Prize share: 1/1
1903: Prize: The 1896 discovery of radioactivity by Henri Becquerel inspired Marie and Pierre Curie to further investigate this phenomenon. They examined many substances and minerals for signs of radioactivity. They found that the mineral pitchblende was more radioactive than uranium and concluded that it must contain other radioactive substances. From it they managed to extract two previously unknown elements, polonium and radium, both more radioactive than uranium.
1911 Prize: After Marie and Pierre Curie first discovered the radioactive elements polonium and radium, Marie continued to investigate their properties. In 1910 she successfully produced radium as a pure metal, which proved the new element's existence beyond a doubt. She also documented the properties of the radioactive elements and their compounds. Radioactive compounds became important as sources of radiation in both scientific experiments and in the field of medicine, where they are used to treat tumors.