|Lesson 2：Madame Curie(1)|
|http://www.sina.com.cn 2003/07/21 16:08 新浪教育|
Madame Curie will always be remembered as the discoverer of radium.
Marie Curie was born in Poland, on November 7th, 1867. When she was young, she became interested in physics and read as many books as she could on the subject. At that time women were not admitted to universities in Poland, so Marie was determined to go to Paris and study there. She arrived in Paris in 1891. She had very little money to live on，ate very little and was always cold in winter. There was a small fire in her room，but she had to carry coal up six floors and wear an overcoat in her small room to keep warm. She succeeded in taking a firstclass degree in physics two years after arriving inPairs. After graduation she took another degree in mathematics. In 1895 she married Pierre Curie, a very bright scientist who was teaching at the School of Physics and Industrial Chemistry at Paris. Marie started to do research, even though she had very little equipment and no money. Not long before another scientist had found that uranium gave off rays, so Marie decided to study this area for her doctor's degree. She gave these rays a new name“radioactive”. One day she made an important discovery. There was a certain mineral which was even more radioactive than uranium. Therefore, she decided, it must contain some other matter that no one had yet discovered. In 1898 she discoveredthe first of these new redioactive minerals, which she named“polonium”in honour of her motherland—Poland, and on which she wrote a research paper.
From then on, Marie and Pierre worked together on their research. They devoted all their hours to working in their laboratory. As months went by, the work seemed endless. Marie described her thoughts in words much like this:“Life is not easy for any of us. We must work, and above all we must believe in ourselves. We must believe that each one of us is able to do something well, and that, when we discover what this something is, we must work hard at it until we succeed.”
One evening in 1902 as she was sitting with Pierre at home, she said to him,“Let's go down to the laboratory again.”It was nine o'clock and they had been there only two hours before.They put on their overcoats and went down to the laboratory. As they opened the door on the ground floor, Marie said,“Don'tlight the lamps. Look!”On the laboratory bench was a glass container from which came a tiny soft light. It was what they had been working so hard to find: pure radium.
The matter that the Curies had discovered was radium. It looked like ordinary salt, but was one million times more radioactive than uranium. Its rays could go through every mineral except lead. In 1903 Marie received her doctor's degree for her study on radioactive matter. Altogether, between 1899 and 1904 she and Pierre wrote 34 articles about their work. Marie Curie never made money out of her research. She refused to treat these new discoveries as though they belonged to her, and instead shared all her knowledge with the whole scientific world.
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