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Marie Curie

Marie Curie (born Marie Sklodowska 1867) was a Polish physicist and chemist, though she completed much of her work in France. After graduating first in her class from the University of Paris in 1893, Curie went on to complete a masters in mathematics, and in 1903, completed her Doctor of Science under Henri Becquerel, becoming the first woman in France ever to receive a doctorate.

Also at the University of Paris, Curie met and married fellow physicist Pierre Currie. Working with Becquerel, the couple researched the radioactivity of pitchblende, the ore from which uranium is extracted, and discovered two new elements, which they named polonium and radium. In 1903, all three shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work.

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Though devasted by her husband's death in 1906, Curie continued her research in radioactivity and in 1911 was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and she remains the only person that has won the award in two different science fields. During World War I, she focused her attention to equipping soldier's hospitals with X-ray units, providing the purified radium from her own lab.

In her later years, Curie founded the Warsaw Radium Institute, as well as headed both the Pasteur Institute and a radioactivity laboratory that the University of Paris created for her. She died in 1934 from aplastic anemia, a condition almost certainly caused by her unprotected exposure to radiation during the course of her career.