An Element of Inspiration

Could you imagine working under poor laboratory arrangements, performing your life’s work under deplorable conditions? Yet, despite such difficulties, what would it be like to personally discover an element of the periodic table? How would you feel if you won multiple awards for an accomplishment or a discovery you made? On November 7, 1867, in what is now current-day Warsaw, Poland, Marie Curie was born.

Madame Marie Curie was a physicist and chemist of Polish upbringing and French citizenship. As a pioneer in the field of radioactivity, she displayed many talents in the field of science. Marie Curie was the first female professor at the University of Paris. She developed her own theory of radioactivity. She also created techniques for isolating radioactive isoscopes, and she discovered two elements: polonium and radium. This honorable scientist promoted the use of radium to alleviate suffering, specifically for soldiers in World War I. Using radioactive isotopes, the world’s first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms (cancers). Sad to say, on July 4, 1934, she passed away from a case of aplastic anemia. This was most likely caused from her own personal exposure to harmful radiation. Marie Curie has had a monumental impact in the field of STEM.

I chose to research and write an essay on Marie Curie because I believe she is a great role model for young women and a respectable example for all of mankind. To attain her scientific goals, she had to overcome many obstacles because of her gender. She was not corrupted by the fame she earned. I found it admirable that she not only was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize, but that she also was the first person to earn two. Madame Curie’s first Nobel Prize was for physics in 1903. The second medal was awarded to her in 1911 for chemistry. Among her other notable achievements were the Davy Medal in 1903 and the Matteucci Medal in 1904. I am both awed and inspired by the sheer number of accomplishments in Marie Curie’s lifetime.

In conclusion, Marie Curie made a grand impact in the field of science even though it may have cost her her health and even her life. With the harmful effects of ionizing radiation not yet known, she carried test tubes containing the glowing element of radium to her lectures for observers to behold and handle and would store them near her in her desk drawers. Many of her personal papers emit high levels of radioactivity, too.

Marie Curie made science “cool” for females. She proved that women could be just as talented as men in the field of STEM. She remained determined in her quest to solve the mysteries behind radioactive elements and always thought ahead in ways that other human beings were unable to comprehend. Her work and discoveries have helped to shape science as we know it today. Marie Curie was a remarkable physicist and chemist, and I am proud to follow in her footsteps.

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