The Everlasting Impact of Marie Curie

Frank Ruffino
3 min readSep 20, 2020

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Marie Curie is undoubtedly amongst the most impactful scientists of all time. Not only were her various scientific discoveries ground breaking, but they led to even further world changes. Possibly the most important aspect of her life, however, was the path she paved for women in science. Given the situation at the time, her making these discoveries was eye opening to society, proving the benefits of having diversity in the science world. Though she was very obviously brilliant, the structure required some outside help, through those in her life and her experiences, to initially enter science and be provided with the needed materials and recognition.

Marie attended Faculte des Sciences, a school that had just 23 women. She opted to attend the school to obtain a sense of freedom, and to remove herself from her old life. In doing so, she was able to work in a laboratory (under a male scientist of course) which provided her with initial exposure to working in a lab. Without her experiences at the school, earning a degree, and getting a job in this lab, the history of Marie Curie would likely be very different, and thus the history of the world would be too.

In this lab worked a man by the name of Pierre. He was a brilliant man who studied crystals and discovered piezoelectricity, along with various other revolutionizing discoveries. Marie and Pierre worked together and developed a relationship, eventually excelling to the point of marriage. Given that he was an established scientist, he provided resources and opportunity to Marie. They started to study together, and were able to discover elements and their properties. Years of work actually turned into a Nobel Prize, and as mentioned before changed the world, for good and bad, forever. Without Pierre’s access, Marie’s mind would likely not have been put to proper use, and these advancements would have probably not been made.

An event that surely changed Marie’s life forever was the unexpected death of Pierre. She was saddened, of course, for a long time, but from a scientific standpoint it could be argued that it was actually beneficial to her life and science. Years after the death, Marie was able to develop a relationship with another man. Paul was another highly accredited scientist, and was actually a student of Pierre’s. The flaw of the matter was that Paul was actually married, and when the world found out many people changed their opinion on Marie. The war, however, provided Marie with opportuity to repair the damage she did to her reputation. She put together many mobile X-ray vehicles which helped to properly care for injured soldiers, avoiding the mistreatment due to lack of proper knowledge about the situations. Without the war taking place, Marie’s repuation could be tarnished and her everlasting impact could have been minimized, possibly harming the representation of women in science from that time to present day.

The representation of women in science is obviously necessary, but for a long time they were not a large part of the field. Marie helped to change this forever, which most definitely helped to expand our understanding of the world. As summarized in Feminist Standpoint Theory and Science Communication, over representation of one group in science can lead to very close minded studies and hinder the advancements made broadly throughout all concentrations. The incorporation of different people, regarding gender, race, and even age, is explained to be very important, as it prevents from one agenda predominating. Though representation today is still far from perfect, without Marie Curie paving the way, women would likely be represented even less in science, and the world would be without many of the most important findings made. Marie Curie made an impact in many ways throughout her life, but was likely unaware of her biggest contributions to the world, women in science.

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