Monday, November 7, 2011

Maria Curie’s Legacy: Three Edges of Leadership

Today is Marie Skłodowska Curie (7 November 1867 – 4 July 1934)’s birthday, she was a Polish-French physicist and chemist, famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity. Her achievements also includes the discovery of two elements, polonium and radium. Under her direction, the world's first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms, using radioactive isotopes. She founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and Warsaw.
As a scientist, after one and half century later, she is still the inspiring role model for today’s generation to pursue scientific domain and explore unknown relentlessly; beyond that, she is also a pioneer in multiple-disciplines to set up a good tone for today’s new edge of leadership.

1. Change the things, to push the world forward
The physical and societal aspects of the work of the Curies contributed substantially to shaping the world of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Cornell University professor L. Pearce Williams observes:
The result of the Curies' work was epoch-making. Radium's radioactivity was so great that it could not be ignored. On the experimental level the discovery of radium provided men like Ernest Rutherford with sources of radioactivity with which they could probe the structure of the atom. As a result of Rutherford's experiments with alpha radiation, the nuclear atom was first postulated. In medicine, the radioactivity of radium appeared to offer a means by which cancer could be successfully attacked

2. Connect the Dots, Multi-Discipline Achiever
Curie was the first person to win or share two Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry. She is one of only two people who have been awarded a Nobel Prize in two different fields.
Curie's second Nobel Prize, in 1911, enabled her to talk the French government into funding the building of a private Radium Institute (Institut du radium, now the Institut Curie), which was built in 1914 and at which research was conducted in chemistry, physics, and medicine
3. Breakdown the Ceilings
She was the first female professor at the University of Paris, and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon Paris
The work of Marie Curie helped overturn established ideas in physics and chemistry, it has had an equally profound effect in the societal sphere.
This aspect of her life and career is highlighted in Françoise Giroud's Marie Curie: A Life, which emphasizes Curie's role as a feminist precursor.
She was ahead of her time, emancipated, independent, and in addition uncorrupted. Albert Einstein is reported to have remarked that she was probably the only person who was not corrupted by the fame that she had won


Post a Comment