Marie was born in Poland but came to Paris in 1891 to study physics at the Sorbonne. Here she met Pierre Curie, whom she married, and together they agreed to work on radioactivity, which had recently been discovered by Henri Becquerel. After isolating polonium and radium, they went on to win the Nobel Prize for Physics, with Becquerel, in 1903.
Tragically, Pierre was killed in 1906, leaving Marie to raise their two young daughters. She took up his post as Professor of Physics at the Sorbonne where she continued her researches into radioactivity, culminating in her award for the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911. Marie began training radiologists at her Radium Laboratory. She devoted her life to developing the medical application of radium and it was her constant exposure to the substance which contributed to her death, from leukaemia, in 1934.