Marie Curie, Polish-French chemist

Marie Curie, Polish-French chemist

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Credit: SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Marie Curie, a Polish-French chemist, was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1867 and died in France in 1934. Curie worked on radioactivity, a term she coined to describe the rays given off by uranium. Her research coincided with that of Rutherford's and Becquerel's in showing that there were three different types of radioactivity: alpha, beta and gamma. In 1903 she won the Nobel Prize for physics with her husband Pierre for their studies in radioactive radiations. In 1911 she won the Nobel Prize for the second time, in chemistry, for the discovery of two new elements, radium and polonium. She died in 1934 of leukaemia caused by the overexposure to radioactive radiation.

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