Why Is Marie Curie Famous?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 29, 2020 6:56:20 PM ET

Marie Curie became famous because of her achievements in the fields of chemistry and physics, which won her two Nobel Prizes. In 1903 she won the prize for her work in physics, and she won the award in 1911 for her work in chemistry. She also published numerous important papers on her work that influenced other scientists.


Marie Curie was one of the discoverers, along with her husband Pierre, of two crucial radioactive elements, radium and polonium. The discovery of these elements was an important step in the development of X-ray technology. In addition to discovering these critical elements, Curie also played a key role in isolating radium from the ore in which it was mixed. This achievement helped scientists learn more about radium, which led to its use for therapeutic purposes.

Marie Curie also gained renown for her work during the first World War. She helped spread the use of X-ray technology by working with the wounded and founding the Paris Institute of Radium. She later established a laboratory devoted to radium research in her native city of Warsaw. Curie died of leukemia in 1934. Ironically, some historians believe that her research with radioactivity caused the disease that ended her life.