The Living History
of Marie Curie
This demo video offers glimpses into several themes addressed in the program:
- Polish Heritage - Many people know that the most famous woman scientist discovered radium. Far fewer realize that she was born in Warsaw, and grew up under oppressive political conditions.
- Romance - "It is impossible to distinguish each one's part in the work of the Curies. ... [In] the fusion of their two efforts, in this superior alliance of man and woman, the exchange was equal." (from biography "Madame Curie", by Eve Curie, 1937) But how did such an alliance begin?
- Love of Science - Marie Curie wrote,"It was exhausting work, to carry the containers, to transfer the liquids, to stir for hours the boiling matter in the cast iron basin." and yet, she also wrote, "We were entirely absorbed in the new field that opened before us. ... We lived in a preoccupation as complete as that of a dream."
- Seminal Cancer Research - By now, the Curies knew radium was a potent substance. Pierre wrote, "Our hands have a general tendency to peel; the tips of the fingers with which we have held...very active products become hard and sometimes very painful." But perhaps this effect could be put to beneficial use?
- Recovering from Tragedy - In the wake of her husband's sudden death, Marie Curie was invited to become the first woman to teach at the Sorbonne in its 600 year history. She wrote, "There are some imbeciles who actually congratulated me."