“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.” – Marie Curie
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not Christmas, but the few weeks for our Eminent person project! Going into the project this year I am feeling nervous and stressed, but I am mostly feeling excited. This is going to be a huge leap from last year, as we now have to do a two minute speech not only in front of our peers, but in front of a huge audience! The speeches were all so amazing last year, so the pressure is definitely on! Even thought there is a lot of pressure, I know that this year I am going to have an amazing project considering my eminent person is… Marie Curie!
Now, the Shortest Biography of Marie Curie you will ever read…
Marie Sklodowska Curie was born Maria Salomea Sklodowsda in Poland, November 7th, 1867. She was the youngest of five siblings of Bronislawa and Wladyslaw Sklodowski. Her mother Bronislawa died of tuberculosis when she was only ten, and her sister, Zofia died three years earlier, both deaths causing great grief in the family. These deaths however did not cause Marie to stop exceeding in school. She attended a few schools, all intended for the academically strong. She was top of her class and discovered her passion for science. Marie’s father also taught Physics and Mathematics, helping
out with Marie’s passion. After Secondary school, she attended a “floating university”, as she could not attend the men-only Warsaw University. A few years after, she made her way to Paris after she had worked as a governess for two years, to enroll in the Sorbonne in Paris. After a degree in Physics in 1893 and degree in Mathematics in 1894, she studied the properties of steel and met Pierre Curie, her later husband. The two grew a strong relationship and worked wonderfully together, now known as the “scientific dynamic duo”. They wed on July 26, 1895.
Marie worked off of Henri Becquerels work and studied and experimented on uranium rays which led to her coining the word “radioactivity”. Soon after in 1897, they had a daughter they named Irene, but the Curies both continued their studies. Pierre ditched what he was working on before to help Marie with her exploration of radioactivity. In 1898 they discovered the radioactive element “Polonium” (named after Marie’s home country Poland), and in 1902, they discovered the element “Radium” (comes from the Latin word “radius” meaning ray). The discovery of radioactivity led to a Nobel prize for Physics. Marie Curie made history then and there by becoming the first woman to ever win a Nobel prize. Their second daughter, Eve, was born the year after. In 1906 Pierre Curie was killed in Paris and Marie suffered with tremendous amounts of grief. In 1911, after all of her and Pierre’s hard work, she was awarded with a second Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery of radium and polonium.
After handling all of the radioactive material in her bare hands, it finally took a toll on her health. She developed aplastic anemia that was caused by the excessive amounts of radiation. She died in France on July 4th, 1934.
So Why did I Choose Her?
Ever since I heard about her in a documentary about four years ago, she has always sparked my interest. She was such a powerful scientist (that also happened to be female), that it inspired me to want to purse science as a career. She was an interesting and inspiring person to read about, and hopefully I will become as successful as she was!
Similarities and Differences
Marie and I have many similarities and differences. The main ones are we are both white females. I know this probably doesn’t mean a lot to you, but Marie was the only major female physicist/chemist in her time, and is still the most well known female scientist. Female scientists weren’t common, and there were only ‘men only’ universities in her time. Now, if I were to become a scientist, I could attend any university I wanted, and instead of being frowned upon, becoming a female scientist would be encouraged. Another main similarity between us is our interest in science and interest in big questions and ideas. I love the quote I posted at the top of this post, because if everyone was more curious about their ideas, who knows what our world would be like now. I am really passionate in all forms of science, especially chemistry, (which was one of the main reasons I chose Marie as my Eminent person) and Marie’s life was dedicated to it.
My Goals for this Project
I have three main goals and they are 1. Have fun 2. Get everything done on time and 3. Make sure I am prepared for my speech. More than anything, I just really really want to have fun with my project. Last year I did have a lot of fun, but since it’s my last year doing this project I want to get the most out of it and really enjoy the experience while its still here. So… number two…I am kind of off to a rough start considering this post should have been completed at least a week a go. Now that the volleyball season is over, I really want to make eminent my main focus right now and work on it as much as I can. And finally, number three. This year I don’t know if I can stress it enough, but I want to be ridiculously prepared for my speech to the point where I could read it in my sleep. I usually get really stressed and nervous for big presentations ans speeches, and this on is no exception; however, I know that when I am prepared and confident, I am a really strong public speaker. I am hoping to carry these goals onto other subject areas like English and Socials to help me with time management and public speaking.
I am extremely excited for Night of the Notables and the grade nine and ten speeches that are to come. I will keep you updated on my progress with this project, but for now, thanks for reading!