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Madame Curie Discoverer of Radium Originally named Marja Sklodowska Marie Curie was born in Warsaw on Nov 7 1867 Her father taught high school physics In 1891 she went to Paris where she changed her name to Marie and enrolled in the Sorbonne Two years later she passed the examination for her degree in physics ranking in first place She met Pierre Curie in 1894 and they married in 1895 Marie Curie was interested in the recent discoveries of radiation Wilhelm Roentgen had discovered X rays in 1895 1896 Antoine Henri Becquerel had discovered that the element uranium gives off similar invisible radiations Curie thus began studying uranium radiations and using piezoelectric techniques devised by her husband carefully measured the radiations in pitchblende an ore containing uranium When she found that the radiations from the ore were more intense than those from uranium itself she realized that unknown elements Jas more radioactive than uranium must be present Marie Curie was the first to use the term radioactive to describe elements that give off radiations as their nuclei break down Pierre Curie ended his own work on magnetism to join his wifes research and in 1898 the Curies announced their discovery of two new elements polonium named by Marie in honor of Poland and radium During the next four years the Curies working in a leaky wooden shed processed a ton of pitchblende laboriously isolating from it a fraction of a gram of radium They shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in physics with Becquerel for the discovery of radioactive elements Marie Curie was the first female recipient of a Nobel Prize In 1904 Pierre Curie was appointed professor of physics at the University of Paris and in 1905 he was named a member of the French Academy Such positions were not then commonly held by women and Marie was not similarly recognized Pierres life ended on April 19 1906 when he was run
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