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Marie Curie

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Curie, Marie 1867 -- 1934
Physicist. Born Manya Sklodowska, on November 7, 1867 in Warsaw, the youngest of the five children of Wladislaw
and Bronislava Boguska Sklodowska. Marie was a brilliant student, gaining a gold medal upon completing her secondary
education in 1883. As girls could not attend universities in Russian-dominated Poland, Marie at her father's suggestion spent
a year in the country with friends. On returning to her father's house in Warsaw the next summer, she had to begin to earn her
living through private tutoring, and she also became associated with the "Floating University," a group of young men and
women who tried to quench their thirst for knowledge in semi-clandestine sessions. In early 1886 she accepted a job as
governess with a family living in Szczuki, but the intellectual loneliness she experienced there only stiffened her determination
to achieve somehow her dream to become a university student. One of her sisters, Bronya, was already in Paris, successfully
passing the examinations in medicine. In March 1890 she offered hospitality to Marie whose acceptance was a foregone
conclusion, but it was not until September 1891 that she could leave for Paris.
When classes began at the Sorbonne in Paris in early November 1891, she enrolled as a student of physics. By 1894 she
was desperately looking for a laboratory where she could work on her research project, the measurement of the magnetic
properties of various steel alloys, and it was suggested that she see Pierre Curie at the School of Physics and Chemistry of the
University of Paris. Their first meeting was movingly recorded in the future Madame Curie's recollections: "He seemed very
young to me although he was then age thirty-five. I was struck by the expression of his clear gaze and by a slight appearance
of carelessness in his lofty stature. His rather slow, reflective words, his simplicity, and his smile, at once grave and young,

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