How Marie Curie Changed the World

Jihu Lee. 02/13/2021

Marie Curie was one of the most famous women scientists of all time. She won two Nobel Prizes, and she was a woman. Marie shows us that with hard work and determination, we can do anything.

Marie found two new elements inside a rock called pitchblende. They were called polonium and radium. Marie worked hard to extract radium and polonium from pitchblende. They worked in an old shed that had a broken glass roof. It was freezing in winter but sweltering hot in summer. Marie and Pierre started to feel exhausted, They didn’t know that radiation was harmful to humans. Marie didn’t give up. Sometimes, things got so radioactive that they glowed! It took three years of hard work, but Marie finally gathered one milligram of radium. She was awarded her doctorate in 1903. In the same year, she was presented with a Nobel Prize. She was the first woman to get these two achievements. Now, everyone wanted to learn how to extract radium from pitchblende. Marie and Pierre taught them for free.

Marie and Pierre didn’t know that radiation was dangerous. But in 1906, Pierre was killed when a horse drawn wagon crushed his skull. Marie was devastated. She was tempted to stop working altogether, but she knew that Pierre would want her to keep working. In 1911, she received a second Nobel Prize. She was the first person to receive two of these special awards. In 1914, a war broke out. Marie offered France in all the ways she could. She knew many facts about x-rays, and so she made many of them to give to Ffrench hospitals. But Marie did more. She made cars with built-in x-ray equipment to drive wounded soldiers before it was too late to save them. She worked as a driver herself!

Marie has helped a lot in our medical world. When I was young, I moved to California. My family took a TB test and the doctors took pictures of our lungs. If it weren’t for Marie Curie, we wouldn’t have been able to take the test. Marie’s work with x-rays helps hospitals all the time. They take pictures of bones to see if they are broken. If there were no x-rays and there was a bad break in a bone, the wound would become infected and the patient might die. But now, we can see the injury before it gets any worse and help the patient right away. The same goes for other serious injuries. During this pandemic, x-rays can detect viruses in the lungs and the heart to save more people in hospitals. Thanks to Marie Curie, we are able to understandhave understanded x-rays much better and used them it to help people. She made the world a safer place to live in.

Marie died on July 4th, 1934. She was only 66 years old. Decades of working with radium had cut her life short. Marie was a woman that never gave up. She kept working, even with her hardships. Although she has died, her knowledge has lived on. Her dedication to science has helped the world become a better place.