Madame Marie Sklodowska-Curie was born in Warsaw, Poland, on November 7, 1867. She was one of the first woman scientists to win worldwide fame, and, one of the great scientists of the century. She had degrees in mathematics and physics. Winner of two Nobel Prizes, for Physics in 1903 and for Chemistry in 1911, she performed pioneering studies with radium and polonium and contributed profoundly to the understanding of radioactivity.
Madame Curie was born as the fifth and youngest child. From childhood she was noticed for her remarkable memory, and at the age of 16 she won a gold medal on completion of her secondary education.
Unfortunately Madame Curieâ€™s mother died of typhus when she was just 9 years old along with her sister, Zosia. To cope with these painful loses, the rest of the children pretended they were genius doctors who discovered a miracle cure. This fantasy became a real life plan of going to Paris to study medicine. Her sister, Bronia, would go first, and Curie would follow to study at Sorbonne University. The only problem was preparing for university level coursework and, of course, money. Since women were not allowed to attended college in Poland, Curie attended classes at a secret school for women called â€œthe flying university.â€ It was called this because there was no campus, only meetings in peopleâ€™s homes in secret.
At the age of 18 she took a post as governess. From her earnings she was able to finance her sisterâ€™s medical studies in Paris, on the understanding that Bronia would in turn later help her to get an education.
In 1891 Curie went to Paris to study at the Sorbonne. Here she worked far into the night in her students â€˜quarter loft and virtually lived on bread and butter and tea. She came first in the license of physical sciences in 1893. She began to work in a research laboratory and in 1894 was placed second in the license of mathematical sciences.