Curie, however, declared that he was ready to move with her to Poland, even if it meant being reduced to teaching French. When World War I broke out in , she suspended her studies and organized a fleet of portable X-ray machines for doctors on the front. On the experimental level the discovery of radium provided men like Ernest Rutherford with sources of radioactivity with which they could probe the structure of the atom. From a ton of pitchblende, one-tenth of a gram of radium chloride was separated in When it was time for the final examinations, she was first in her class. Sikorska; next she attended a gymnasium for girls, from which she graduated on 12 June with a gold medal. Fifteen years earlier, her husband and his brother had developed a version of the electrometer , a sensitive device for measuring electric charge.
By the end of that year they had isolated a second radioactive element they called radium, from radius, the Latin word for rays. She accepted it, hoping to create a world-class laboratory as a tribute to her husband Pierre. Where was she born? Instead, she mobilized a small army of women in an effort to reduce human suffering and win World War I. She knew her scientific research needed to be put on hold. Why did she not return to Poland? Despite Curie's fame as a scientist working for France, the public's attitude tended toward xenophobia — the same that had led to the Dreyfus affair — which also fueled false speculation that Curie was Jewish. Curie survived the war but was concerned that her intense X-ray work would ultimately cause her demise. Curie chose the same rapid means of publication. She also found out that: By mid he was so invested in it that he decided to drop his work on crystals and to join her. It [is] likely that already at this early stage of her career [she] realized that Marie Curie was born on 7 November So she gathered her entire stock of radium, put it in a lead-lined container, transported it by train to Bordeaux — miles away from Paris — and left it in a safety deposit box at a local bank. In Pierre, Marie had found a new love, a partner, and a scientific collaborator on whom she could depend. She decided to redirect her scientific skills toward the war effort; not to make weapons, but to save lives. Several tons of pitchblende were donated by the Austrian government, but the space Marie was using for a lab was too small. In medicine, the radioactivity of radium appeared to offer a means by which cancer could be successfully attacked. Little by little, various components of the ore were tested. She had always protected herself from ingesting any radium. In June , Marie was the first woman in Europe to earn a doctorate in physics. On July 4, , she died of aplastic anemia, a blood disease that is often caused by too much exposure to radiation. She quickly realized her high school education and self-study had not prepared her for the Sorbonne. In July , the Curies published their conclusion: Together, they were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in , and she received another one, for Chemistry, in
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