Genius Series: The defiant life of Marie Curie
Big Think has launched a line of apparel and goods that celebrate the life and work of four geniuses.
- Big Think has just launched its Genius Series of tees, sweatshirts, posters and more!
- We're paying tribute to the first female Nobel Prize winner, Marie Curie.
- Select Rush or Super Rush Delivery to get your order before Christmas Day!
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.
– Marie Curie
Marie Curie was a trailblazing physicist working in the 19th and 20th centuries, and remains the only person to this day to have won a Nobel Prize in two different sciences: physics and chemistry.
Curie was born in Poland, and although she was a brilliant student she was barred from higher education because she was a woman. Determined to study, she enrolled in a secret institution known as the Flying University, which defied government control of education, then moved to Paris to study physics and mathematics at the Sorbonne.
In Paris, she met physicist Pierre Curie, who became her partner in life and in the lab—and who defiantly fought for her recognition when the Nobel academy did not include her alongside him in the Nobel Prize nomination.
Curie changed the way we understood the structure of atoms, invented a mobile x-ray unit (and trained 150 women to operate them on the WWI battlefields), discovered radioactivity (and coined the term), and discovered two elements: polonium, named after her native Poland, and radium, the Latin word for 'ray'.
Our Marie Curie design pays tribute to this remarkable scientist's life and work. Wear it proudly, and—as Curie says above—have confidence that your gifts can be put to powerful use.
Select Rush or Super Rush Delivery to get your order before Christmas Day!
Physicist Frank Wilczek proposes new methods of searching for extraterrestrial life.
- Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek thinks we are not searching for aliens correctly.
- Instead of sending out and listening for signals, he proposes two new methods of looking for extraterrestrials.
- Spotting anomalies in planet temperature and atmosphere could yield clues of alien life, says the physicist.
Laws can't stand by themselves. Professor James Stoner explains why.
- Can you divorce the rule of law from the virtue of justice? Immanuel Kant said the perfect constitution would work even among a nation of devils, provided they were intelligent devils.
- Professor James Stoner thinks the opposite is true. The right punishments don't lead people to behave well, we are also guided to make morally good decisions by our conscience—by our internal sense of justice.
- The ability of all people to pursue their own good is itself a kind of common good of a liberal society.
What is it? Really, who knows?
- A virus has been found whose DNA is 90% absolutely unfamiliar.
- Scientists have no real idea what it developed from, or how.
- Viruses used to be thought of as simple, jumbles of things — not so much any more.
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