Marie Curie, née Sklodowska
Born: 7 November 1867, Warsaw, Russian Empire (now Poland)
Died: 4 July 1934, Sallanches, France
Prize motivation: "in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel"
Field: nuclear physics
Prize share: 1/4
The 1897 discovery of radioactivity by Henri Becquerel inspired Marie and Pierre Curie to investigate further this phenomenon. They examined several substances and minerals for radioactivity. They found that the mineral pitchblende was more active than uranium and concluded that it must contain other radioactive substances. They managed to extract two previously unknown elements: polonium and radium, both of them more radioactive than uranium.