For my first illustration for Women’s History Month I’ve decided to go with groundbreaking chemist and physicist, Marie Curie. Above is my drawing (I’ve packed up 99% of my art supplies for an upcoming move, so it’s pretty bare-bones and not done with the best tools. I didn’t even have any pencils left out to sketch it out, so it’s all pen and dry erase marker. lol) Anywhoo, let’s get to it and talk about some of the reasons I chose this particular woman to shine the spotlight on. And rest assured, there are plenty of other awesome ladies I’ll be posting about throughout the month, so this is simply the first. 😉
Born on November 7, 1867, Madame Marie Curie was a French-Polish force to be reckoned with who went down in history as the first woman to win a Nobel Prize (1903) in physics, and later in chemistry. She also has the honor of being the first person (man or woman) to obtain Nobel honors twice. In other words, she was a genius bad ass.
A pioneer in the study of radioactivity, Marie Curie along with her husband and BFF Pierre discovered two new chemical elements, radium and polonium (named after Marie’s birthplace, Poland) and helped advance therapeutic medicine and the use of X-rays with their tireless work. Can we say Science Power Couple? 😛
Marie was also fearless in the face of war, devoting her time and resources, as well as risking her life, by helping wounded soldiers in France during the First World War by forming mobile X-ray teams driving vehicles nicknamed “Little Curies”.
She overcame many obstacles in her life, including refusing to be held down by gender-based education restrictions. Unable to attend the men’s-only University of Warsaw, Marie and her sister did whatever it was going to take to get their educations, including taking turns supporting one another, and Marie attended what was known as a “floating university” in Warsaw, which was basically an underground set of classes done in secrecy. Eventually she was able to study abroad, but her desire for the necessary schooling needed to chase her dreams didn’t come cheap, and she often had to choose her education over her own nutrition, frequently living on only bread and tea. Her sacrifices and determination paid off though, and she was able to pursue her passion in life. Not to mention the countless lives that have been saved over the years thanks to her discoveries and life’s work. Sadly, it is believed to be her very work that ended up costing Marie Curie her own life. Due to prolonged exposure to radiation both in her studies and while providing X-rays to wounded soldiers in field hospitals, she passed away from aplastic anemia on July 4, 1934 at the age of 66. Known by some as a martyr to science, she left behind one hell of a legacy and continues to inspire others to this day.
MARIE CURIE QUOTES:
“Nothing in this world is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so we fear less.”
“We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.“
“A scientist in his laboratory is not a mere technician: he is also a child confronting natural phenomena that impress him as though they were fairy tales.”