Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Geek Mom of the month. Marie Curie

I'm going to start honoring mothers geeks from around the world in a monthly basis. I decided to start in March because is the month I was born so call it a little treat to myself.

I'm using the broad pop culture definition of geek. This section would be about mothers that one way or another had found time between breastfeeding and changing diapers to contribute to the interests most geeks cherish, science, technology, literature, video games... Bonus points if their children ended up inheriting their passion for our pursuits.

Although a bit predictable, my all time favorite is Marie Curie. She was the first woman that won a Nobel prize along with her husband Pierre, in 1903. She also continued her research after he died and won another in 1911.

So far she is the only woman to win the Nobel in two fields, and the only scientist to have won it in different sciences. Since, aside from physicist, she was also a chemist. To make her even more outstanding she was the first female professor at La Sorbonne in Paris.

Madam Curie managed to find time between her research and homemaking  to give birth and raise two daughters. One of them became an award winning scientist. Irène Joliot-Curie won the Nobel with her husband Jean Frédéric Joliot-Curie for Chemistry in 1935.Her brother Pierre Joliot-Curie is a biologist. Irene's children continued the Curie tradition.  Hélène Langevin-Joliot is a nuclear physicist and her son, Yves is an astrophysicist.

A whole dynasty dedicated to the sciences. Some of the memories of their descendants show Marie encouraging science, not by appealing to intelligence but to hard work and dedication. One of the biggest barriers for many people to pursue STEM fields is to think that you need to be a genius to be able to become a researcher. In reality what is more important is patience, dedication and a huge amount of curiosity than a high IQ.

I can only dream my child will inherit a love for discovery from me and their dad. Regardless, if he become a scientist, a comic book artist or an accountant. I will do my best to teach him to respect the legacy of women like Marie Curie.


alahay said...

Funny I was also born in this month and I research at the university of pierre and marie curie ...

Ana Bastow said...

Lucky you! :)

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