Madame Curie – X-Ray Machine Inventor

Marie-Curie-portrait Image
Marie Curie wasn’t always a famous scientist. She was born in Poland.

Marie Curie wasn’t always a famous scientist. First, she was a little girl born in Poland. Her family had five children and her parents were both teachers. They loved poetry, books and learning and taught their children many things. Marie had a very loving family, but they weren’t always happy.

Madame Curie Facts For Kids

  • Born in Poland, 1867, as Maria Skłodowska.
  • First woman to win a Nobel Prize.
  • Only person to win Nobel in two different sciences.
  • Discovered elements: radium and polonium.
  • Named “polonium” after her homeland, Poland.
  • Pioneer in radioactivity research.
  • Married to Pierre Curie, fellow scientist.
  • Died from radiation exposure in 1934.
  • Founded the Curie Institute in Paris.
  • Mother of Nobel Prize winner, Irène Joliot-Curie.


Madame Curie, a distinguished scientist, made pioneering contributions to the field of radioactivity, leading to groundbreaking discoveries that have left an enduring legacy in science. Alongside her husband, Pierre Curie, she identified two new radioactive elements, Radium and Polonium, an achievement that garnered them the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics.

This distinguished her as the first woman recipient of the prestigious award. Madame Curie’s relentless pursuit of knowledge extended beyond these discoveries; her subsequent research catalyzed the development of X-ray machines, now essential in modern hospitals. Her relentless dedication and pioneering work in radioactivity have significantly shaped the scientific landscape.

Pierre Curie

Madame Marie Curie, an extraordinary scientist, was also a loving wife and mother, married to Pierre Curie, a highly skilled physicist. Their shared passion for science led them to make remarkable discoveries in radioactivity.

Pierre introduced Marie to magnetism and radioactive elements, and together, they conducted intense research in their laboratory, often sacrificing meals and sleep. Their dedication and collaborative efforts culminated in winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903, making Marie the first female laureate of this esteemed honor.

Pierre’s support greatly contributed to Marie Curie’s groundbreaking scientific achievements.


Madame Marie Curie, a distinguished scientist celebrated for her pioneering work in radioactivity, significantly contributed to the scientific and medical fields with her discovery of Radium alongside her husband, Pierre Curie.

Radium, a glow-in-the-dark radioactive element, was identified by Madame Curie after spending countless hours in her lab, meticulously processing tons of a mineral known as pitchblende to extract minuscule amounts of the element. This discovery was a game changer, paving the way for remarkable medical and scientific advancements including the use of Radium in the treatment of cancer and other diseases.

Despite the potential health risks, Madame Curie’s unwavering dedication to her research displayed her deep commitment to both science and the betterment of humanity.


Marie Curie, also known as Madame Curie, was a renowned scientist celebrated for her pioneering work in radioactivity. She holds a fascinating place in scientific history, particularly for children, due to her discovery of a new radioactive element named Polonium, which she named in honor of her homeland, Poland.

This was a significant breakthrough as Polonium was the first element identified for its radioactive properties. Madame Curie’s profound contributions to the field, specifically her work with Polonium and other radioactive elements, earned her two Nobel Prizes, marking her as one of the most influential scientists in history.

Nobel Prizes

Madame Curie, a phenomenal scientist, made significant strides in the scientific field, becoming a role model, particularly for young science enthusiasts. An intriguing fact about her illustrious career is her unique record with the Nobel Prize.

She broke barriers as the first female laureate and remains the only individual to receive the distinguished award in two separate scientific disciplines, namely Physics and Chemistry. In 1903, Madame Curie, alongside her spouse Pierre Curie and scientist Henri Becquerel, was recognized with her initial Nobel Prize in Physics for their breakthrough research on radioactivity.

Eight years later, she added another feather to her cap, securing a second Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her groundbreaking discovery of the radioactive elements, polonium and radium. Madame Curie’s exceptional dedication and ground-breaking work significantly propelled scientific knowledge, reinforcing her standing as an inspiration to all, particularly those young minds captivated by the realm of science.

X-ray machines

Madame Curie’s pioneering work, specifically her discoveries of radium and polonium, made notable contributions to the advancement of medical technology, particularly the development of X-ray machines. She discovered that these elements could emit radiation strong enough to penetrate human bodies, a groundbreaking revelation that led to the invention of X-rays.

Furthermore, her innovative application of this technology during World War I saw her operating mobile X-ray units, affectionately called ‘Little Curies’, to aid in the treatment of wounded soldiers on the battleground. Curie’s significant work with X-rays not only profoundly transformed the realm of medical diagnostics but also laid the groundwork for revolutionary treatments, like radiation therapy for cancer patients.

Radium Institute

Marie Curie, often referred to as Madame Curie was a trailblazing scientist recognized for her remarkable contributions to the study of radioactivity, specifically her discovery of the element radium. Her innovative research paved the way for her to establish the Radium Institute in Paris in 1914, an entity devoted to advancing the study of radioactivity and exploring its potential medicinal applications.

The institute was a revolutionary hub where significant progress was made in utilizing radium for cancer treatment. Today, continuing Madame Curie’s legacy, the institute, renamed as the Curie Institute, remains a premier global research and treatment center for cancer.


The renowned scientist, Madame Curie, alongside her husband Pierre Curie, revolutionized the medical field through their groundbreaking discoveries. Their exploration led to the identification of two radioactive elements, radium, and polonium, which became instrumental in the development of radiotherapy, a cancer treatment that utilizes radiation to eradicate cancer cells and contract tumors.

Madame Curie’s pioneering research, which continues to aid doctors globally in treating cancer patients, has saved innumerable lives. Her profound contributions to the medical field were acknowledged with two Nobel Prizes, a testament to the enduring relevance and impact of her work.

Women in Science

Born in Poland in 1867, Madame Marie Curie was a trailblazer in the scientific world, shattering gender barriers while making monumental contributions to the field. Moving to France to pursue her studies in physics and mathematics at the Sorbonne, she met her future husband, Pierre Curie, and together, they embarked on pioneering research on radioactivity, a term she coined.

Not only was she the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, but she also remains the only person ever to have garnered Nobel Prizes in two distinct scientific fields – Physics and Chemistry. Her remarkable achievements served as stepping stones for forthcoming generations of female scientists, proving that women could significantly influence fields typically dominated by men.

Uranium research

Renowned scientist Madame Marie Curie has left an indelible mark on the field of Uranium research, making discoveries that not only redefined our understanding of the element but also led to significant advancements in medical science.

As the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize, and the only one to receive it in two different fields – Physics and Chemistry, her achievements are a testament to her exceptional acumen. One of her revolutionary findings was the emission of rays from Uranium, a phenomenon she aptly named ‘radioactivity’.

This groundbreaking discovery paved the way for the development of x-rays and cancer treatments, underscoring her profound impact on the scientific community. Madame Curie is also credited with the discovery of two new elements, Polonium and Radium, during her research on Uranium. Her remarkable contributions to Uranium research and the concept of radioactivity make her an inspiring figure in the annals of scientific history, particularly for young science enthusiasts.

Marie Curie Portrait Image - Science for Kids All About Madame Curie
All About Madame Curie: Marie Curie was a famous scientist. She was born in Poland.

Their country was ruled by Russia. Marie’s family did not like the rules the Russian government made. It was against the law to speak Polish. It was against the law for girls to go to school. But Marie’s parents did not care. They sent Marie to a secret school. Marie and her sister made a pact to help each other go to college. Marie worked as a governess to pay for her sister’s school. She secretly taught poor children how to read, which was against the law. She thought all people should be educated. Later, Marie went to college. She became a brilliant scientist.

Marie Curie in her Laboratory Image
She discovered radium and polonium. These two substances are radioactive

Fun Facts about Madame Curie for Kids

  • Marie discovered radium and polonium. These two substances are radioactive.
  • Marie and her husband won a Nobel Prize for their work. She later won another Nobel Prize.
  • Marie’s family ran a secret school.
  • Marie’s sister, Bronia, became a doctor – something unheard of for women then.
  • Marie’s husband, Pierre, was a scientist too. He and Marie often worked together.
Marie and her Husband Pierre Image
Marie and her husband Pierre won a Nobel Prize for their work.

Madame Curie Vocabulary

  1. Famous: well-known
  2. Scientist: person dedicated to the study of science
  3. Pact: agreement or promise, often done in secret
  4. Governess: private teacher, nanny
  5. Brilliant: bright, fantastic

Learn More All About Madame Curie, X-ray Machine Inventor

Watch this interesting video all about Madame Curie’s life:

A video biography of Marie Curie.

Madame Curie Q&A

Question: What were the benefits of Madame Curie’s discoveries?

Answer: Madame Curie invented the x-ray. During World War 1, she made x-ray machines that could go on trucks. She sometimes drove the trucks herself to wounded soldiers.


Question: When did Madame Curie die?

Answer: Madame Curie was born in 1867. She died in 1934. She died of leukemia, caused by exposure to radiation.