"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." — Marie Curie
Polish physicist Marie Curie and her husband Pierre discovered the chemical element radium on this day in 1898, publishing their findings at the French Academy of Sciences. Collaborating with French engineer Henri Becquerel, the trio successfully isolated radium chloride from uraninite, a radioactive mineral. This monumental discovery earned Becquerel and the Curies the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903, making Marie Curie the first woman in history to accomplish that feat. Eight years later, Curie would take home a Nobel award once more — and this time she didn’t have to split the honor with her partners. Curie won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911, in recognition of “her services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element.” This achievement made Curie the first person and the only woman to win two Nobel Prizes and the only person to win the prestigious award from two different scientific fields.