Marie Sklodowska Curie

The first woman to become a Professor of General Physics at Sorbonne. With her husband, she was awarded half of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903, for their study of radiation. She was the first woman to ever win a Nobel Prize. She then received a second Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her work in radioactivity. With multiple degrees in physics and mathematics, her work pioneered the way for future research and discoveries.

“Down With Cis”

I’ve seen this term being used a lot on Tumblr by a lot of stupid people. What I’d like to tell you, social justice warriors, are these simple facts.

  • The current president of the United States is cis.
  • The candidate you’re going to vote for during the elections is cis.
  • The creator of Tumblr himself is cis.
  • The creator of the most sjw–crammed fandom ever (Steven Universe), Rebecca Sugar, is cis.
  • Every single president of the United States (so far) has been cis.
  • Your biological parents are most likely cis.
  • Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Isaac Newton, Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Anne Frank, Nicolas Cage, Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas Edison, Marie Sklodowska-Curie – these were all cis people! And they all did great things in their lives that every one of us feels grateful for today.

So why, social justice warriors – why do you pretend as if all cis people are scum? Does not undergoing the process of changing your gender suddenly make you less of a person than someone who has?

Fuck no. Because your gender doesn’t define your personality or how much you achieve in life. It’s hard work that makes that stuff happen, but all you people do is bitch and moan about how oppressive cis people are. Even when they’re not doing anything to harm you. They’re just being themselves.

Tldr; please stop saying “down with cis”

  • Dr. Sklodowska: We can reach the clot in time!
  • Archer: How? To get from his foot all the way to his brain would take, like -
  • Dr. Sklodowska: Literally one minute.
  • Archer: I'm sorry, I think you mean figure -
  • Dr. Sklodowska: Literally. That's how long it takes blood to cycle through the body, so...
  • Slater: Seriously?
  • Archer: What?
  • Lana: Yeah, that doesn't sound right.
  • Dr. Sklodowska: Well, we could ask Wikipedia.
  • Archer: Good luck, I've got negative one bars.
  • Dr. Sklodowska: Or we could just ask me, the woman who graduated from Harvard Medical School summa cum laude.
  • Archer: With a minor in Spanish Bragging.

Marie Skłodowska Curie (7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934), born Maria Salomea Skłodowska, was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, the only person to win twice in multiple sciences, and 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 included 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.

While a French citizen, Marie Skłodowska Curie (she used both surnames) never lost her sense of Polish identity. She taught her daughters the Polish language and took them on visits to Poland. She named the first chemical element that she discovered‍ - “polonium” - after her native country, Poland.

Einstein, Dirac, Pauli, Marie Curie, Bohr, Schrodinger and many more of the scientific greats. All in one epic picture.

The Solvay Conference,1927.

Back row: Auguste Piccard, Émile Henriot, Paul Ehrenfest, Édouard Herzen, Théophile de Donder, Erwin Schrödinger, Jules-Émile Verschaffelt, Wolfgang Pauli, Werner Heisenberg, Ralph Howard Fowler, Léon Brillouin. Middle: Peter Debye, Martin Knudsen, William Lawrence Bragg, Hendrik Anthony Kramers, Paul Dirac, Arthur Compton, Louis de Broglie, Max Born, Niels Bohr. Front: Irving Langmuir, Max Planck, Marie Sklodowska Curie, Hendrik Lorentz, Albert Einstein, Paul Langevin, Charles-Eugène Guye, Charles Thomson Rees Wilson, Owen Willans Richardson.


1. Mikołaj Kopernik (Nicolaus Copernicus, 1473–1543) – a Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the centre of the universe. The publication of this model in his book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) just before his death in 1543 is considered a major event in the history of science, triggering the Copernican Revolution and making an important contribution to the Scientific Revolution.

2. Fryderyk Chopin (Frédéric Chopin, 1810–1849) – a composer and a virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era.

3. Józef Konrad Korzeniowski (Joseph Conrad, 1857–1924) – a novelist and short-story writer, considered an early modernist.

4. Maria Skłodowska-Curie (Marie Curie, 1867–1934) – a physicist, famous for her work on radioactivity and twice a winner of the Nobel Prize. With Henri Becquerel and her husband, Pierre Curie, she was awarded the 1903 Nobel Prize for Physics. She was the sole winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and she is the only woman to win the award in two different fields.

Bad Diagnosis - Part 1/6

Rating: T - angst, facing mortality, friendship, lion-paladin bond
Word Count: 1742
Characters: Katie “Pidge” Holt, Green Lion, Takashi “Shiro” Shirogane, Allura
Notes: angst, female pronouns for Pidge
AO3: [link]
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She rolled over in the bed, pressing her forehead against the mattress harder, hoping the pressure might provide some relief.

She waited.

Two long breaths.


It didn’t help.

Keep reading



Polish-born scientist Marie Skłodowska Curie - known to most as just plain “Marie Curie” - was the first woman to ever win a Nobel Prize. She shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband Pierre Curie and physicist Henry Becquerel for their joint efforts researching radiation. Notably, she was responsible for coining the term “radioactivity”, and within this time period, she conducted the first studies on the treatment of diseased, tumor-forming cells.

After her husband Pierre’s death in 1906, Marie was offered his position in the physics department at the University of Paris. She took the job, and became the first woman to act as a professor at the institution. This was especially remarkable at the time, since she spent most of her early educational days rejected by universities in Poland due to her gender.

Despite a sensationalized affair with her husband’s former student that led to media accounts deeming her a home-wrecker, Curie won the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering the elements radium and polonium, including her work isolating radium to study the nature and compounds of the element. This made her the first person to win two Nobel Prizes, the only woman to do so, and the only individual in history to win for two different sciences.

During World War I, Curie learned how to drive and quickly gave herself a crash course on anatomy, auto mechanics and the use of X-ray equipment in order to develop “Little Curies”, mobile radiology units designed for assisting battlefield surgeons. It is estimated that over a million soldiers were treated in Curie’s units.

Though Curie’s work positioned her to become one of the most celebrated women in the field of science, it also managed to take a major toll on her health. She passed away in France on July 4, 1934 of aplastic anemia, likely due to continued exposure to radiation.

Production is underway on a new film about the life of scientist Marie Sklodowska-Curie!

Director Marie Noelle (at right in the photo above) is filming the biopic in Poland, starring Karolina Gruszka (at left) in the role of Marie Sklodowska-Curie, the first woman ever to win not one, but two, Nobel prizes. Curie did groundbreaking work in physics and chemistry, coining the term “radioactivity” after discovering the elements polonium and radium. 

The new film is slated to premiere internationally in February 2016. 

This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read.

Wislawa Szymborska’s speech after receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature, december 1996.

The Poet and the World

They say the first sentence in any speech is always the hardest. Well, that one’s behind me, anyway. But I have a feeling that the sentences to come - the third, the sixth, the tenth, and so on, up to the final line - will be just as hard, since I’m supposed to talk about poetry. I’ve said very little on the subject, next to nothing, in fact. And whenever I have said anything, I’ve always had the sneaking suspicion that I’m not very good at it. This is why my lecture will be rather short. All imperfection is easier to tolerate if served up in small doses.

Contemporary poets are skeptical and suspicious even, or perhaps especially, about themselves. They publicly confess to being poets only reluctantly, as if they were a little ashamed of it. But in our clamorous times it’s much easier to acknowledge your faults, at least if they’re attractively packaged, than to recognize your own merits, since these are hidden deeper and you never quite believe in them yourself … When filling in questionnaires or chatting with strangers, that is, when they can’t avoid revealing their profession, poets prefer to use the general term “writer” or replace “poet” with the name of whatever job they do in addition to writing. Bureaucrats and bus passengers respond with a touch of incredulity and alarm when they find out that they’re dealing with a poet. I suppose philosophers may meet with a similar reaction. Still, they’re in a better position, since as often as not they can embellish their calling with some kind of scholarly title. Professor of philosophy - now that sounds much more respectable.

But there are no professors of poetry. This would mean, after all, that poetry is an occupation requiring specialized study, regular examinations, theoretical articles with bibliographies and footnotes attached, and finally, ceremoniously conferred diplomas. And this would mean, in turn, that it’s not enough to cover pages with even the most exquisite poems in order to become a poet. The crucial element is some slip of paper bearing an official stamp. Let us recall that the pride of Russian poetry, the future Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky was once sentenced to internal exile precisely on such grounds. They called him “a parasite,” because he lacked official certification granting him the right to be a poet …

Several years ago, I had the honor and pleasure of meeting Brodsky in person. And I noticed that, of all the poets I’ve known, he was the only one who enjoyed calling himself a poet. He pronounced the word without inhibitions.

Just the opposite - he spoke it with defiant freedom. It seems to me that this must have been because he recalled the brutal humiliations he had experienced in his youth.

In more fortunate countries, where human dignity isn’t assaulted so readily, poets yearn, of course, to be published, read, and understood, but they do little, if anything, to set themselves above the common herd and the daily grind. And yet it wasn’t so long ago, in this century’s first decades, that poets strove to shock us with their extravagant dress and eccentric behavior. But all this was merely for the sake of public display. The moment always came when poets had to close the doors behind them, strip off their mantles, fripperies, and other poetic paraphernalia, and confront - silently, patiently awaiting their own selves - the still white sheet of paper. For this is finally what really counts.

It’s not accidental that film biographies of great scientists and artists are produced in droves. The more ambitious directors seek to reproduce convincingly the creative process that led to important scientific discoveries or the emergence of a masterpiece. And one can depict certain kinds of scientific labor with some success. Laboratories, sundry instruments, elaborate machinery brought to life: such scenes may hold the audience’s interest for a while. And those moments of uncertainty - will the experiment, conducted for the thousandth time with some tiny modification, finally yield the desired result? - can be quite dramatic. Films about painters can be spectacular, as they go about recreating every stage of a famous painting’s evolution, from the first penciled line to the final brush-stroke. Music swells in films about composers: the first bars of the melody that rings in the musician’s ears finally emerge as a mature work in symphonic form. Of course this is all quite naive and doesn’t explain the strange mental state popularly known as inspiration, but at least there’s something to look at and listen to.

But poets are the worst. Their work is hopelessly unphotogenic. Someone sits at a table or lies on a sofa while staring motionless at a wall or ceiling. Once in a while this person writes down seven lines only to cross out one of them fifteen minutes later, and then another hour passes, during which nothing happens … Who could stand to watch this kind of thing?

I’ve mentioned inspiration. Contemporary poets answer evasively when asked what it is, and if it actually exists. It’s not that they’ve never known the blessing of this inner impulse. It’s just not easy to explain something to someone else that you don’t understand yourself.

When I’m asked about this on occasion, I hedge the question too. But my answer is this: inspiration is not the exclusive privilege of poets or artists generally. There is, has been, and will always be a certain group of people whom inspiration visits. It’s made up of all those who’ve consciously chosen their calling and do their job with love and imagination. It may include doctors, teachers, gardeners - and I could list a hundred more professions. Their work becomes one continuous adventure as long as they manage to keep discovering new challenges in it. Difficulties and setbacks never quell their curiosity. A swarm of new questions emerges from every problem they solve. Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous “I don’t know.”

There aren’t many such people. Most of the earth’s inhabitants work to get by. They work because they have to. They didn’t pick this or that kind of job out of passion; the circumstances of their lives did the choosing for them. Loveless work, boring work, work valued only because others haven’t got even that much, however loveless and boring - this is one of the harshest human miseries. And there’s no sign that coming centuries will produce any changes for the better as far as this goes.

And so, though I may deny poets their monopoly on inspiration, I still place them in a select group of Fortune’s darlings.

At this point, though, certain doubts may arise in my audience. All sorts of torturers, dictators, fanatics, and demagogues struggling for power by way of a few loudly shouted slogans also enjoy their jobs, and they too perform their duties with inventive fervor. Well, yes, but they “know.” They know, and whatever they know is enough for them once and for all. They don’t want to find out about anything else, since that might diminish their arguments’ force. And any knowledge that doesn’t lead to new questions quickly dies out: it fails to maintain the temperature required for sustaining life. In the most extreme cases, cases well known from ancient and modern history, it even poses a lethal threat to society.

This is why I value that little phrase “I don’t know” so highly. It’s small, but it flies on mighty wings. It expands our lives to include the spaces within us as well as those outer expanses in which our tiny Earth hangs suspended. If Isaac Newton had never said to himself “I don’t know,” the apples in his little orchard might have dropped to the ground like hailstones and at best he would have stooped to pick them up and gobble them with gusto. Had my compatriot Marie Sklodowska-Curie never said to herself “I don’t know”, she probably would have wound up teaching chemistry at some private high school for young ladies from good families, and would have ended her days performing this otherwise perfectly respectable job. But she kept on saying “I don’t know,” and these words led her, not just once but twice, to Stockholm, where restless, questing spirits are occasionally rewarded with the Nobel Prize.

Poets, if they’re genuine, must also keep repeating “I don’t know.” Each poem marks an effort to answer this statement, but as soon as the final period hits the page, the poet begins to hesitate, starts to realize that this particular answer was pure makeshift that’s absolutely inadequate to boot. So the poets keep on trying, and sooner or later the consecutive results of their self-dissatisfaction are clipped together with a giant paperclip by literary historians and called their “oeuvre” …

I sometimes dream of situations that can’t possibly come true. I audaciously imagine, for example, that I get a chance to chat with the Ecclesiastes, the author of that moving lament on the vanity of all human endeavors. I would bow very deeply before him, because he is, after all, one of the greatest poets, for me at least. That done, I would grab his hand. “‘There’s nothing new under the sun’: that’s what you wrote, Ecclesiastes. But you yourself were born new under the sun. And the poem you created is also new under the sun, since no one wrote it down before you. And all your readers are also new under the sun, since those who lived before you couldn’t read your poem. And that cypress that you’re sitting under hasn’t been growing since the dawn of time. It came into being by way of another cypress similar to yours, but not exactly the same. And Ecclesiastes, I’d also like to ask you what new thing under the sun you’re planning to work on now? A further supplement to the thoughts you’ve already expressed? Or maybe you’re tempted to contradict some of them now? In your earlier work you mentioned joy - so what if it’s fleeting? So maybe your new-under-the-sun poem will be about joy? Have you taken notes yet, do you have drafts? I doubt you’ll say, 'I’ve written everything down, I’ve got nothing left to add.’ There’s no poet in the world who can say this, least of all a great poet like yourself.”

The world - whatever we might think when terrified by its vastness and our own impotence, or embittered by its indifference to individual suffering, of people, animals, and perhaps even plants, for why are we so sure that plants feel no pain; whatever we might think of its expanses pierced by the rays of stars surrounded by planets we’ve just begun to discover, planets already dead? still dead? we just don’t know; whatever we might think of this measureless theater to which we’ve got reserved tickets, but tickets whose lifespan is laughably short, bounded as it is by two arbitrary dates; whatever else we might think of this world - it is astonishing.

But “astonishing” is an epithet concealing a logical trap. We’re astonished, after all, by things that deviate from some well-known and universally acknowledged norm, from an obviousness we’ve grown accustomed to. Now the point is, there is no such obvious world. Our astonishment exists per se and isn’t based on comparison with something else.

Granted, in daily speech, where we don’t stop to consider every word, we all use phrases like “the ordinary world,” “ordinary life,” “the ordinary course of events” … But in the language of poetry, where every word is weighed, nothing is usual or normal. Not a single stone and not a single cloud above it. Not a single day and not a single night after it. And above all, not a single existence, not anyone’s existence in this world.

It looks like poets will always have their work cut out for them.