Maria Skłodowska-Curie (1867-11-07 – 1934-07-04) was a Polish-born scientist. The first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize, in 1903, for Physics, she became the first person to win two with the 1911 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. She founded the Curie Institute.
- One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.
- Letter to her brother (1894)
- We must not forget that when radium was discovered no one knew that it would prove useful in hospitals. The work was one of pure science. And this is a proof that scientific work must not be considered from the point of view of the direct usefulness of it. It must be done for itself, for the beauty of science, and then there is always the chance that a scientific discovery may become like the radium a benefit for humanity.
- Lecture at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York (May 14, 1921)
- All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child.
- Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.
- Humanity needs practical men, who get the most out of their work, and, without forgetting the general good, safeguard their own interests. But humanity also needs dreamers, for whom the disinterested development of an enterprise is so captivating that it becomes impossible for them to devote their care to their own material profit. Without doubt, these dreamers do not deserve wealth, because they do not desire it. Even so, a well-organized society should assure to such workers the efficient means of accomplishing their task, in a life freed from material care and freely consecrated to research.
- I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician: he is also a child placed before natural phenomena which impress him like a fairy tale.
- Variant translation: A scientist in his laboratory is not a mere technician: he is also a child confronting natural phenomena that impress him as though they were fairy tales.
- I am one of those who think like Nobel, that humanity will draw more good than evil from new discoveries.
- I have frequently been questioned, especially by women, of how I could reconcile family life with a scientific career. Well, it has not been easy.
- I have no dress except the one I wear every day. If you are going to be kind enough to give me one, please let it be practical and dark so that I can put it on afterwards to go to the laboratory.
- I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy.
- In science, we must be interested in things, not in persons.
- It is my earnest desire that some of you should carry on this scientific work and keep for your ambition the determination to make a permanent contribution to science.
- 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 that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.
- 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.
- Science is essentially international, and it is only through lack of the historical sense that national qualities have been attributed to it.
- The various reasons we have just enumerated lead us to believe that the new radioactive substance contains a new element to which we propose to give the name of RADIUM.
- There are sadistic scientists who hurry to hunt down errors instead of establishing the truth.
- We must act.
- At the outbreak of World War I, on the need to train people to use X-rays to examine injuries.
- When one studies strongly radioactive substances special precautions must be taken. Dust, the air of the room, and one's clothes, all become radioactive.
- You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end each of us must work for his own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.