July 4, 1934 - Death of Marie Curie, scientist who lived and died for science

Marie Curie, a scientific icon, discovered the radioactivity of thorium, coined the term "radioactivity" and isolated and characterized the chemical elements radium (Z = 88) and polonium (Z = 84).

She was the first person to receive two Nobel Prizes (Physics in 1903 and Chemistry in 1911) and the first woman to be awarded this prize. Apart from her magnificent and admirable research work, she was highly committed to human rights, peace, and freedom.

She passed on her scientific and humanitarian virtues to her daughters Irene and Ève. Irene, together with her husband Frédéric Joliot-Curie, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935. On the other hand, Ève, her executor and biographer, married Henry Labouisse, Jr., who, as president of UNICEF, collected the 1965 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to this humanitarian organization.

Paradoxically, it was radiation, according to most biographers and experts, that ended her life. A victim of aplastic anemia (a rare disorder in which the spinal cord does not produce enough new cells), probably contracted as a result of continuous radiation exposure, he died in Sallanchez (France) on 4 July 1934. Her body was placed in a coffin forged from about an inch of lead and lies next to her husband Pierre in the Panthéon in Paris.

The journal Chronicle, in its July 1934 issue, bade farewell to Marie Curie with these words: "The distinguished woman who, by conquering a world for science, brought a new and marvelous remedy for pain".

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