Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of the amazing scientist Marie Curie.----more----
Marie Curie was born 150 years ago in Poland. Back then Poland was ruled by Russia and the Russians were not kind to the Poles. The Russians stopped the schools teaching science to the Polish children. However, Marie’s father was a science teacher. He took his school science equipment home and taught Marie there. Marie was very clever and top of her class at school. However, in Poland women were not allowed to go to university. So Marie became a governess instead to earn some money.
Her sister had gone to Paris and told her that in Paris women could go to university. Marie moved to Paris and started studying Maths, Physics and Chemistry. We explain in our podcast all about these subjects.
Marie met a man called Pierre. He was also a brilliant scientist. They fell in love. However, Marie wanted to return to Poland to be a scientist there. He loved her so much he said that he would follow her even if it meant he would never be a scientist again. She decided to go on her own. However, back in Poland no one would give her a job as a scientist because she was a woman. Pierre begged her to go back to Paris, be a scientist there and marry him. She agreed.
Back in Paris Marie and Pierre started doing science together. Scientists had already discovered a rock called uranium. This gave off invisible rays. Marie and Pierre decided to study this rock and its rays. They crushed up the rock into a powder which gave off even more rays. Marie called this Polonium after her native Poland. As well as the powder there was some left over liquid. Marie and Pierre put the liquid in a sieve and did lot of different type of mixing with it. They found they had something completely different called Radium. This also gave off invisible rays, called Radiation.
The radiation travelled through objects and so was very useful for taking pictures of things that you couldn’t see. This is how x-rays were invented. It was also useful for curing cancer because it zapped the bad cancer cells.
However, in large amounts it was very dangerous. Marie and Pierre did not realise this and were often sick while doing their experiments.
After these amazing discoveries, Marie and Pierre were awarded the highest prize in science – the Nobel Prize.
Shortly afterwards, there was a terrible accident and Pierre was killed. Now Marie had to carry on alone.
She continued to make x-ray machines and look for ways to use radiation in hospitals. Astonishingly she received the Nobel Prize again.
When World War One broke out, Marie turned her x-ray machines into mobile machines that could help soldiers near the front line. She worked on them herself to help soldiers.
After the war, Marie carried on working, until she died aged 66 from illnesses caused by having too much radiation.
After Marie died other scientists carried on her experiments and some of these lead to inventing the Nuclear bomb.
Marie Curie’s example shows that girls can achieve anything they want and are as good at science as any boy. In fact Marie was one of the greatest scientists who ever lived.
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