Marie Curie changed the world. She helped discover new . Her work was a giant step in the study of chemistry. Curie did a lot of experiments in Paris, France, in the early 1900s. Recently, there were plans to tear down one of the buildings that Curie worked in. Officials in France decided to pause the plans.
The building is called the Pavillon des Sources. It was going to be . But many people spoke out to keep the structure. More than 1,000 people signed a petition. They asked France’s president and other leaders to stop the teardown.
Rima Abdul Malak is France’s Minister of Culture. On January 5, she said the demolition plans would be stopped for now. She made the decision after talking to the Curie Institute. That group owns the building. The Curie Institute doesn’t want to keep the building, but Malak asked the group to find ways to protect it.
For now, the building will stand as a memory of Curie’s life. She was born as Maria Sklodowska in Poland in 1867. She moved to France when she was 24. She studied math and science in Paris at a famous university called the Sorbonne. Later, she would become the first female professor in the school’s history.
In Paris, she met a man named Pierre Curie. The two married in 1895. Together, the did groundbreaking work in science. They discovered two elements: polonium and radium. In 1903, Pierre and Marie won the Nobel Prize in Physics. Marie Curie was the first woman ever to win a Nobel.
Curie’s husband died in 1906. But she kept up her research. In 1910, she wrote a long paper on radioactivity. Radioactivity is a process where unbalanced release energy. This work led to Curie winning her second Nobel Prize, this time for chemistry. She is the only person to win two Nobel Prizes in different sciences.
Curie continued to use her skills to change the world. During World War I, Curie came up with a kind of car that could carry X-ray machines to the battlefield. She trained nurses how to use the equipment to help soldiers heal.
Curie died in 1934 at the age of 66 from leukemia. Experts believe that her illness was caused by her work with radioactive elements.
We now know that Curie’s work with radioactive materials was dangerous. But her efforts helped people understand radioactivity and inspired countless other scientists. “Nothing in life is to be feared,” Curie once said. “It is only to be understood.”
Updated January 12, 2024, 5:02 P.M. (ET)
By Ryan Cramer