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Today in History: Marie and Pierre Curie’s Great Discovery

via The Nobel Prize

Marie and Pierre Curie‘s pioneering research was again brought to mind when on April 20 1995, their bodies were taken from their place of burial at Sceaux, just outside Paris, and in a solemn ceremony were laid to rest under the mighty dome of the Panthéon. Marie Curie thus became the first woman to be accorded this mark of honour on her own merit. One woman, Sophie Berthelot, admittedly already rested there but in the capacity of wife of the chemist Marcelin Berthelot (1827-1907).

It was François Mitterrand who, before ending his fourteen-year-long presidency, took this initiative, as he said “in order to finally respect the equality of women and men before the law and in reality” (“pour respecter enfin …l’égalité des femmes et des hommes dans le droit comme dans les faits”). In point of fact – as the press pointed out – this initiative was symbolic three times over. Marie Curie was a woman, she was an immigrant and she had to a high degree helped increase the prestige of France in the scientific world.

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