|(1920) Marie Curie 1867-1934|
France had been home to Polish born Maria Salomea Sklodowska since 1895 with her marriage to French scientist Pierre Curie. Together Pierre and Marie shared a Nobel prize in 1903 for their discovery of spontaneous radioactivity. Marie then won a second Nobel Prize in 1911 for her discovery of the elements polonium and radium (she coined the term radioactivity). Both made Marie the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first person to receive a second Nobel Prize. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris. Marie never filed a patent, for fear it would hinder other researchers from making further discoveries.
|Pierre and Marie Curie in their lab|
Marie saw that the military's health services were in poor shape. She knew that doctors could benefit from X-ray equipment to confirm broken bones and locate bullets and shrapnel in their patients. The French government gave Marie permission to set up France's first military radiology centers, and she became the Director of the Red Cross Radiology Service. With zeal and passion, Marie designed and setup 20 mobile X-ray stations and 200 hospital stations.
For the mobile units, she began by borrowing Renault trucks from her rich female acquaintances, and convinced automobile body shops to convert the vehicles into medical X-ray labs. She begged manufacturers and other wealthy acquaintances to purchase X-ray equipment and auxiliary generators (a "dynamo," worked by the engine, gave the electric current required).
|X-rays on Wheels: the petite Curie|
|Irene and Marie Curie at a hospital station|
"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe we are gifted for something and that this thing must be obtained."
Copyright 2015 © Sharon Marie Himsl