Letter to the Editor

Marie Curie

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dear Editor,

Life for Manya Sklodavska or Marie Curie (1867-1934) included many trials and cruel blows.

The Russians ruled her native Poland made life difficult.

Her father Vladislav-Skiodavska was an underpaid physics professor.

Her mother, Mine Sklodavska, died from T.B. 6 months before Manya's 11th birthday.

After saving her hard-earned wages as a tutor, Manya (Marie) went to Paris, France, to study chemistry and physics. She became an outstanding student and met Pierre Curie, a chemistry professor.

After a courtship of 10 months, they were married.

Working side-by-side they spent long hours in a leaky shack studying crystals and uranium compounds.

They used huge amounts of pitch blend. Reontgen's study and discovery of X-ray fascinated them. Their work was sometimes placed on hold when they toured France on bicycles.

Sadly, Piere Curie (1859-1906) was crushed under a team of large draft horses pulling a freight wagon while crossing a busy city street.

Marie Curie was overcome with grief. Then she continued their important research. In 1911 whe received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. She had isolated radium and polonium. Both Marie and Pierre Curie were aware of how powerful these isolated substances were.

They did not live to see the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. Three days later, 41⁄2 miles of the city of Nagasaki was destroyed by the atom bomb.

Irene Curie (1897-1956), their oldest daughter, became Marie's assistant. She did live to see the defeat of Japan using atomic explosions. By 1956 radiation was used to stop cancer in its tracks. She was thankful for that. She also received a Nobel prize in Chemistry.

Eve Curie, who was born in 1904, became an author and lecturer. She wrote a biography of her mother which was published in 20 languages.

Both girls idolized their mother.

Helen Ruth Arnold,

Trenton, Nebraska

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: