Marie Curie(1867-1934), Physicist and chemist; Nobel Prize winner
Marie Curie (née Maria Sklodowska)
Sitter in 2 portraits
The first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize and the first person to receive the prize twice. Curie and her husband Pierre Curie's research led to the discovery of two new radioactive elements, radium and polonium, the latter named after her homeland Poland. Their research was crucial to the development of X-rays and the treatment of cancer. Pierre insisted that his wife jointly receive their Nobel prize in 1903, after initially being omitted and for many years she was not recognised by the French government. Over a million soldiers in World War I were treated with mobile X-ray units introduced by Curie for battlefield surgeons, known as 'Little Curies'. The high levels of radioactive contamination she was exposed to during her research are considered to have contributed to her death in 1934.
More on Marie Curie: The Icons trail: discover the people who shaped the 20th Century
Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below
by Julius Mendes Price ('Imp')
chromolithograph, published in Vanity Fair 22 December 1904