Marie Curie: Radioactive Ethicist

With the help of her husband Pierre Curie, Marie Curie discovered radium and its many uses. The Polish physicist was born 146 years ago this week on November 7, 1867.
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With the help of her husband Pierre Curie, Marie Curie discovered radium and its many uses. The Polish physicist was born 146 years ago this week on November 7, 1867.

Marie Curie receives an honorary doctorate from Columbia University during her visit to the United States, 1921. (Getty)

Marie Curie receives an honorary doctorate from Columbia University during her visit to the United States, 1921. (Getty)

With the help of her husband Pierre Curie, Marie Curie discovered radium and its many uses. The Polish physicist, who became a naturalized citizen of France, was born 146 years ago this week on November 7, 1867.

At the conclusion of World War I and 10 years after Marie Curie received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911, the scientist began struggling with obtaining funding for her research. And it didn't help financial matters that she did not patent her discovery, but according to her, she had no interest in exploiting it. In response, an American editor and journalist named Missy Meloney started a campaign to raise $100,000 for Curie by urging women to purchase a gram of radium. And although men also began contributing to the good cause, Meloney specifically called for women to come together and donate...and they did.

Madame Curie came to the U.S. in May 1921 to receive the generous donation from President Warren Harding. She spent the remainder of her time enjoying her visit and being lauded for her accomplishments, even receiving an honorary doctorate from Columbia University on May 28th, pictured above.