Marie Skłodowska Curie (7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934) was a physicist and chemist of Polish upbringing and, subsequently, French citizenship. She was a pioneer in the field of radioactivity, the first person honored with two Nobel Prizes, receiving one in physics and later, one in chemistry. She was the first woman to serve as professor at the University of Paris.
She was born Maria Skłodowska in Warsaw (then Vistula Land, Russian Empire; now Poland) and lived there until she was twenty-four years old. In 1891 she followed her elder sister, Bronisława, to study in Paris, where she obtained her higher degrees and conducted her subsequent scientific work. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and Warsaw. Her husband, Pierre Curie, was a Nobel co-laureate of hers, being awarded a Nobel prize in physics at the same time. Her daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, and son-in-law, Frédéric Joliot-Curie, also received Nobel prizes.
Her achievements include the creation of a theory of radioactivity (a term she coined ), techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two new elements, polonium and radium. Under her direction, the world's first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms (cancers), using radioactive isotopes.
While an actively loyal French citizen, she never lost her sense of Polish identity. She named the first new chemical element that she discovered (1898) polonium for her native country,and in 1932 she founded a Radium Institute (now the Maria Skłodowska–Curie Institute of Oncology) in her home town, Warsaw, which was headed by her sister, Bronisława, who was a physician.