The Nobel Prize in Physics 1903
Born: 15 May 1859, Paris, France
Died: 19 April 1906, Paris, France
Affiliation at the time of the award: École municipale de physique et de chimie industrielles (Municipal School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry), Paris, 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."
Prize share: 1/4
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.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.