Why Marie Curie Could Kick your Ass

Marie Curie once famously uttered the following quote…

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

Although I don’t know when Curie gave this wonderful quote to us it was some time before her untimely death in 1934. I don’t think this quote has ever been more relevant than it is now. Maybe it’s just me getting older, but old fearmongering and block headed obstinateness seem to be reasserting themselves in the public consciousness. Unfounded fear of autism is leaving children unvaccinated against MMR, based on hearsay still repeated now.

Marie Curie was awarded two Nobel prizes (one of them shared with her husband and Heni Becquerel) for her research into the phenomena of radioactivity, and she and Pierre Curie discovered two new elements; polonium and radium. Curie also began work on using radiation to prevent the growth of cancerous cells.

In many ways Marie Curie seems to reflect the attitude of geeks today. Her and her husband were responsible for overturning existing scientific conventions, she was unafraid of working with the unknown and even refused to patent radium to allow fellow scientist to work with the element.

Marie Curie was independent, intelligent, grounded and courageous. She is worthy of your respect.

This post is part of Ada Lovelace Day, a day of blogging celebrating the role of women in technology. I have chosen Marie Curie as she effectively gave her life for science and I admire her a great deal. Whilst I have chosen a historical subject for my post, there are lots of women working today worthy of accolade. Take a look at other posts celebrating these women.

3 thoughts on “Why Marie Curie Could Kick your Ass

  1. Neil, I like the way you combined Ada Lovelace Day with the important theme of fear.

    I’m making note of “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” for the favorite quotes on my Facebook page.

    I was happy to be able to introduce Esther Dyson for my Ada Lovelace Day post.



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