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Conference explores legacy of Polish Nobel Prize-winning scientist

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 07.11.2017 12:00
An international conference is under way in Warsaw exploring the legacy of Polish Nobel Prize-winning scientist Maria Skłodowska-Curie.
Maria Skłodowska-Curie. Photo: Wikimedia Commons [Public domain]Maria Skłodowska-Curie. Photo: Wikimedia Commons [Public domain]

Tuesday marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Skłodowska-Curie, a two-time Nobel Prize winner, in physics and chemistry.

The conference has been organised jointly by the University of Warsaw, the Medical University of Warsaw and the Warsaw University of Technology.

On Thursday, a special gala event in tribute to Skłodowska-Curie will be held at this last university, attended by her two grandchildren, professors Hélène Langevin-Joliot and Pierre Joliot from France.

Earlier this year, a number of events were held in honour of the Polish scientist, including academic conferences, lectures, exhibitions and the premiere of a feature film about her life and work.

Born in Warsaw in 1867, Skłodowska-Curie spent most of her life in France. She graduated from the Sorbonne in Paris.

In 1903 she was awarded a Nobel Prize in physics together with her husband Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel. In 1906, her husband was killed in an accident. In 1911, Skłodowska-Curie won a second Nobel Prize, this time in chemistry.

Skłodowska-Curie devised a method to isolate radium and study its properties, a discovery that later paved the way for cancer treatment.

She was a global celebrity, but a scandal erupted when news of her affair with a married scientist, Paul Langevin, emerged in the press, prompting angry protests outside her home and critical newspaper coverage.

During World War I, together with her daughter Irène, Skłodowska-Curie fitted ambulances with portable X-ray equipment, driving vehicles to the front line. In 1934, she died of leukaemia, which is believed to have been caused by her high exposure to radiation.

In 2009, the British magazine New Scientist recognised Skłodowska-Curie as the greatest woman scientist of all time. (mk/gs)

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