Marie Skłodowska Curie was a Polish and naturalised-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity.
She was born in Warsaw, in what was then the Kingdom of Poland, part of the Russian Empire.
In 1891, aged 24, she followed her older sister Bronisława to study in Paris, where she earned her higher degrees and conducted her subsequent scientific work. She shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband Pierre Curie and physicist Henri Becquerel. She won the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. She was part of the Curie family legacy of five Nobel Prizes.
She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris.
Her achievements include the development of the theory of radioactivity (a term that she coined), techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium.
She also founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw.
Mduduzi Mbiza is a writer, content strategist, researcher, consultant, speaker and author of the book, ‘Human Education: The Voyage of Discovery’. He has contributed his articles on education to Daily Maverick, The South African, Voice360 and EduOne.