Marie Skłodowska Curie was born on November 7, 1867, in Poland. Her intelligence began to appear from the earliest years. She was an outstanding student. However, this did not guarantee her a place at Warsaw University. Only male students were admitted there.
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Not yielding to social injustice, young Maria continued her education at a secret underground institution that taught mainly Polish girls.
To feed herself and her sister, she worked as a private tutor, continuing to believe that someday she would move to Paris and graduate.
In 1891, Marie finally managed to fulfill her childhood dream – she entered the Sorbonne. She put all of her time and energy towards the goal. Adhering to such lofty goals comes with a bigger price tag than sleepless nights.
With a small income, she could hardly make ends meet. Her diet was bread with butter and tea. Sometimes, she even fainted hungrily. But the thirst for knowledge constantly interrupted the feeling of hunger.
After graduating from the Sorbonne, Marie met her future husband, Pierre Curie. In 1898, they jointly discovered polonium and radium. This brought them international recognition.
In 1903, the couple received the Nobel Prize in Physics for their research on radiation. Curie was the first woman to receive such a high award. In addition, in the same year, she became the first woman to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Paris.
In 1906, she suffered the bitter and sudden loss of Pierre. The news plunged Curie into despair, but she did not back down and vowed to continue alone what they had begun together.
Curie plunged headlong into work, the laboratory became her new home. In 1911, she received her second Nobel Prize for the separation of polonium and radium. Thus, she became the first person in history to be awarded twice one of the most prestigious awards in scientific fields.
Then she invaded the battlefields of the First World War. She wanted not to fight the enemy, but help those who suffer. Thanks to her enormous contribution to medicine, Skłodowska-Curie proved that science can be a force for good. She became the director of the Radiological Service of the Red Cross.
It will not be an exaggeration to say that the notebook presented below is at least one of the most dangerous in the world. But why?
What else can you see in it besides the many drawings and calculations scattered across the old pages?
Since Curie spent most of her life working with radioactive elements, her papers, clothes, home furniture, and all other things were infected with radiation.
All her records, stored in the National Library of France, are in lead boxes due to the extreme level of radiation. If someone wants to look at them, then first of all, it is necessary to sign a disclaimer for the consequences and put on protective clothing.
The half-life of radium is approximately 1600 years, so storage problems will not disappear in the near future.
Equations and calculations for the study of chemical elements are written in ink on these papers. But what comes from them is in every sense the heritage of a unique person.
She suffered from an illness that was the result of decades of radiation exposure and passed away in 1934.