Marie Sklodowska Curie, born Maria Salomea Sklodowska on 7 November 1867 in Warsaw, Kingdom of Poland , was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who carried out pioneering research on radioactivity, a term that she coined.
Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. She became the first person to win the Nobel Prize twice. She is still the only person to win Nobel Prize in two different sciences: in physics in 1903 and in chemistry in 1911.
Curie’s accomplishments included the development of the theory of radioactivity, techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes, and the discovery of two chemical elements, polonium and radium. Under her direction, the world’s first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms, using radioactive isotopes.
Marie Curie founded the Curie Institutes in Paris and in Warsaw, which remain major centers of medical research today. During the First World War, she developed mobile radiography units to provide X-ray services to field hospitals.
While a French citizen, Curie always maintained her Polish identity. She taught her two daughters the Polish language and took them on visits to Poland. She named the first chemical element that she discovered—polonium, which she isolated in 1898—after her native country.
Marie Curie died on 4 July 1934 at 66 at the Sancellemoz sanatorium in Passy, Haute-Savoie, France, of aplastic anemia from exposure to radiation in the courses of her scientific research and her radiological work at field hospitals during the First World War.
This month, on 7 November 2017, we will mark Curie’s 150th birthday and in her honor, I prepared the following birthday brainteasers and arithmetic curiosities (many of the outcomes below only work using the European day-month format for dates, so I've used that style throughout):
- Marie Curie’s 150th birthday is coded by her name: if numbers 1 to 26 are assigned to the letters of the French alphabet as A being one, B being two, C being three, etc., the sum of the numbers assigned to the letters of Marie Curie equals 102. Coincidentally, 150 plus its reverse, namely 051, yields 201, which is the reverse of 102.
- Furthermore, 2017 is the 306th prime number where 306 is three times 102 (Marie Curie).
- Moreover, 201 equals 3 times 67 where 3 and 67 differ by 64 and the reverse of 64, namely 46, equals the sum of the numbers assigned to the letters of Marie. Additionally, Curie’s 150th birthday coincides with the 311th day of 2017 where 311 is the 64th prime number.
- Curie’s birth date, 7 November, expressed as 711 is also coded in her name: three times half of 102 (Marie Curie) equals 153 and the reverse of 153, namely 351, equals three times 117 where 117 is the reverse of 711.
- Just like her 50th birthday 100 years ago, Curie’s 150th birthday expressed as 7/11/17 is special because it is a palindrome date.
- However, 100 years from now, Curie’s 250th birthday expressed as 7/11/2117 will even be more special because it is a full palindrome date.
- Curie’s 151st birthday next year written as 7/11/18 will be special too since 18 is 7 plus 11. Moreover, 7, 11, and 18 add up to 36 where the 36th prime number coincides with 151.
- French physicist Pierre Curie and Marie Curie got married in 1895 which was a numerically special year for the following reason: the last three letters of both Marie and Curie end with the letters R, I, and E, which are amazingly the 18th, 9th, and 5th letters of the French alphabet where 18, 9, and 5 put side by side make 1895 ! Further, Marie turned 28 later that year where twice 28 equals 56, the sum of the numbers assigned to the letters of Curie.
- Curie’s 146th birthday expressed as 7/11/13 was a sequential date because it consisted of three consecutive prime numbers, 7, 11, and 13.
- Curie’s 153rd birthday expressed as 7/11/20 will be special too since 7 and 11 are the 4th and 5th prime numbers where 4 times 5 equals 20. Moreover, the reverse of 153, namely 351, equals three times 117, where 117 is the reverse of 7/11.
- Curie’s 158th birthday written as 7/11/2025 will also be unique because 2025 equals 45 squared, where 45 is made of digits 4 and 5, where again the 4th and 5th prime numbers are 7 and 11.
- Curie was born on 7/11 and died on 4/7 where the day number of her birth and the month number of her death are the same. Additionally, 7 and 11 differ by 4 (the day number of her death) and 4 and 7 add to 11 (the month number of her birth).
- If Curie’s birthday 7/11/1867 is split as 711, 18, and 67, the product of the sum of the digits of 18 and 67 yields 117 which again is the reverse of 711.
- Curie was born on 711 (7/11) and died on 407 (4/07) and these two numbers add up to 1118. Also, Curie’s 150th birthday coincides with the 311th day of this year where 311 minus 150 results in 161 and the 161st prime number is 947. These two numbers, namely 1118 and 947, are interestingly coded in Curie’s birthday: First, note that 1118 plus the reverse of 947, namely 749, gives 1867, the year Curie was born. Second, 947 times the reverse of 1118, namely 8111, results in 7681117, the reverse of which is 7111867.
- Lastly, one plus twice 947 yields 1895, the year that the Curies married.
Happy 150th birthday to Marie Curie!