Curie was born on Nov. 7, 1867. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, based on her pioneering research into radioactivity.
She came up with the name polonium for the first radioactive element she discovered. The name was derived from her home country of Poland.
Curie was born in Warsaw and was already a grown woman when she moved to France to pursue her studies. She was so proud of her heritage, she continued to use her maiden name of Sklodowska and taught her daughters to speak Polish.
At that time, Poland was still under Russian control and Curie hoped her research might inspire international support for granting its independence.