Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Schools & science : Marie Curie 150 years : resources

Marie Curie
illustration: Lizzy Stewart

We celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of  Marie Skłodowska-Curie, on the 7th November 2017.

As we all know the pioneering scientist became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize.

Marie Curie was a Nobel Laureate of many firsts: the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize, the first person to be awarded the Prize twice and still the only person to receive the Prize in two different scientific fields.

She received the news that she was to be awarded her second Nobel Prize on her 44th birthday - a special present for a very impressive scientist.

Marie Curie 150 Years
Nobel Prize

Some bio notes:

Born in Warsaw, Poland, on the 7th November 1867, Maria Sklodowska (later to become Marie Curie) was the youngest of five children born to teachers Wladyslaw and Bronislawa. 

Her father, Wladyslaw, was a maths and physics teacher who would greatly influence Curie’s career in science. Tragically, her mother, Bronislawa, died of tuberculosis when Curie was just ten years old.

Despite her obvious talent in school (being consistently the top performing student in her year) Curie would not be able attend the University of Warsaw, as at the time they would not accept female students
Moving to France in 1891 with her sister, Curie was finally able to attain the formal education she desired at The University of Paris, where she studied physics and mathematics, and in 1894 she met her husband-to-be Pierre Curie. 

Marie & Pierre Curie
The Curies began investigating radioactivity together in Paris, building on the work of physicists Wilhelm Roentgen and Henri Becquerel. 
In 1898, the Curies announced the discovery of not one but two new chemical elements: polonium and radium. In 1903 the Curies and Becquerel would jointly be awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics, making Marie Curie the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.

Marie Curie with her daughter, Irène, & other researchers
 in her laboratory at the Edith Cavell Hospital in 1914
When World War I broke out in 1914 Curie committed herself to the cause, developing mobile radiography units, which were known as Petites Curies, to help treat inured soldiers in the field. 
She became the director of the Red Cross Radiology Service and set up France’s first military radiology centre. She facilitated the installation of 20 of her “Little Curies” and another 200 radiological units at field hospitals in the first year of the war, and it is estimated that over a million wounded soldiers were treated with her X-ray units.
Tragically, since long-term effects of ionizing radiation were unknown, she took no precautions when working with her radioactive materials, and she is believed to have perished from a disease that resulted from the long-term exposure.
Marie Curie discovered radium and polonium, and she is remembered for her huge contribution to research into cancer. Her work continues to inspire research in the field to support people living with terminal illness, including terminal cancer.
Marie Curie is one of the most famous scientists of all time, her work having been crucial in the advancement of the fight against cancer, and is considered to be the “most inspirational woman in science”.

Marie Curie is the best example to young women studying sciences curriculum at school and later to continue their studies at college.
Marie Curie is the real proof that women must choose scientific study if they love science and create a stunning career.

There are a good number of young scientists at the research centers in many universities in the world.



Marie Curie Radioactivity
Connie Colwell Miller
illustrator: Scott Larson

Marie Curie Radioactivity, a graphic novel that tells the story of Marie Curie's discovery of radium and radioactivity.
In graphic novel format, this book follows the trail of discovery that led to important advances in medicine, but also the creation of the atomic bomb. 
Experienced teachers know that the amount of reading their students does will have a direct and positive impact on his reading fluency and vocabulary development. 
That is why graphic novels though once relegated to the category of lowbrow reading, are now experiencing a surge in popularity. I disagree.
If one or two of your students are reluctant readers graphic novels, vocabulary introduced via contextual clues, make great literature accessible to more children. 
The interesting pictures and snappy dialogue, with little-to-no narration to bog the reader down, will encourage independent reading and learning. As the students' competence and confidence grow, so will his joy of literacy. 
Students also will learn how the Curies' work led to their deaths through exposure to radiation. 

Includes additional facts, glossary, appropriate Internet sites, recommended books and bibliography.
Such an interesting resource to include into languages and sciences curriculum at school.

Marie Curie
The Courage of Knowledge
Marie Noelle, 2016

The film follows the famous physicist and chemist Marie Curie and her struggle for recognition in the male-dominated science community in early 20th century France.
Marie Noelle’s evidently impassioned portrait of the trailblazing Polish-French physicist and chemist emerges as an odd blend of, well, formulae, following a starchy biopic pattern one minute and giving in to impressionistic abstraction the next.

That her love life is rather more engagingly presented is perhaps inevitable, though having fought hard to be judged by male peers on her work rather than her womanhood, Curie wouldn’t be thrilled to hear it.
 Guy Lodge, in Variety
Language: German
We all know that a film is always a personal view of a director even based on true stories and lives.
Films are always strong digital resources to include into school curricula. Students love biopics and a little romance in the air. 

The Madame Curie Complex
The Hidden History of Women in Science
Julie des Jardins
Why are the fields of science and technology still considered to be predominantly male professions? The Madame Curie Complex moves beyond the most common explanations—limited access to professional training, lack of resources, exclusion from social networks of men—to give historical context and unexpected revelations about women's contributions to the sciences.
"Recent years have seen this idealized version of Curie challenged by less-celebratory interpretations. In Julie Des Jardins’s The Madame Curie Complex: The Hidden History of Women in Science, Curie is described as “a superhuman anomaly,” one who causes female scientists frustration by establishing unrealistic expectations of scientific accomplishment, rather than inspiring them to excel."
It's a different vision. But I know a good number of young women that are doing wonders in the field of scientific research.

Marie Curie

Other resources:
Video: Documentary about Marie Curie in her laboratory here 

The UNESCO Courier (1967) : Marie Curie here
Marie Curie/ Famous Scientists here 
Film review: Marie Curie The Courage of Knowledge here

I realize that scientific discoveries are never due to just one person, but Marie Curie played a huge role in the discovery of radium and deserves recognition. 
Curie is so inspirational, and not just to yooung women. The history of radium is an interesting one, especially since an element that was/is so dangerous and detrimental to living things was used so widely when first discovered.
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