Marie Curie


Marie Curie, neé Manya Sklodowska (1867–1934), was born in Warsaw. She immigrated to France in 1891 and studied at the Sorbonne. She worked with her husband, Pierre Curie (1859–1906), also a student and later professor at the Sorbonne, on magnetism and radioactivity. The Curies and French physicist Antoine Henri Becquerel (1852–1908) shared the 1903 Nobel Prize for Physics for their discovery of radioactivity. After her husband’s death, Marie succeeded to his university chair. In 1911 she won a second Nobel, the prize for chemistry, for her work in isolating the elements polonium and radium. She died of leukemia, probably caused by extended exposure to radiation. This photograph of Curie is from the archives of the League of Nations. Curie was a member of the League’s Committee on Intellectual Cooperation, established in 1922 for the purpose of building up international relations among teachers, artists, scientists, and members of other intellectual professions and improving the working conditions of the educated workforce. Its members included scientist Albert Einstein, novelist Thomas Mann, and composer Béla Bartók. In 1926 the committee moved from Geneva to Paris, where it was reestablished as the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation. The archives of the League were transferred to the United Nations in 1946 and are housed at the UN office in Geneva. They were inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 2010.

Last updated: August 5, 2016