Pierre and Marie Curie are well-known in the scientific world as the couple that discovered polonium and radium back in 1898. The pair also won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903. But did you know they had two children? Have you heard of Éve Curie?
Éve Curie is the youngest daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie. She did not choose to pursue a career in science like her famous parents. Instead, she chose a career in journalism. She won the National Book Award for Non-Fiction in 1937 for her Book “Madame Curie.”
The Early Life of Éve Curie
Éve Denise Curie was born on December 6, 1904, in Paris, France. She was the youngest daughter of the world-renowned scientists Marie and Pierre Curie. Due to an unfortunate accident with a horse cart, Pierre Curie passed in 1906. Éve did not get to know her father because of this.
After the accident, Marie Curie took over Pierre’s teaching position at La Sabornne. During this time, her father-in-law, Dr. Eugene Curie, moved back with them when his wife died. He took care of the children when Marie went to work. When he passed in 1910, Marie was forced to bring up her daughters by herself with the help of a governess.
Since Marie was busy with her career, it wasn’t a surprise that her daughters felt disconnected from her. Éve confessed that as a child, she suffered from a lack of sufficient attention from her mother. By the time she became a teenager, she somehow developed a stronger bond with Marie as she took great interest in their education and interests.
Irene, Éve’s older sister, followed in their parents’ footsteps. She became a scientist and was even awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry alongside her husband, Jean Frédéric Joliot. Éve, on the other hand, was a more artistic individual. She showed interest in literature, arts, and music.
Éve graduated from the Collège Sévigné in Paris. She obtained her baccalaureate by 1925. She would perform on stage in concerts. She cared about wearing the best clothes, make-up, jewelry, and high-heeled shoes. She must stand out at parties. This was the complete opposite of her mother, who chose simple black dresses.
There were five Nobel Prizes in my family. Two for my mother, one for my father, one for my sister and brother-in-law and one for my husband. Only I was not successful.Éve Curie
(Source: Madame Curie Biography)
When Did Éve Curie Write Her Book?
Éve decided to express her love to her mother by writing a biography about the great Madame Curie after she passed. She withdrew from her social life and moved to a small flat in Auteuil, Yvelines. She gathered documents and sifted through hundreds of lettest Marie had left.
She went to Poland in 1935 to learn more about her mother’s childhood. By 1937, the biography Madame Curie was published in France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and the United States.
The book was an instant success. In the United States, Éve won the National Book Award for Non-Fiction, voted by the American Booksellers Association. By 1943, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) turned the book into a motion picture. (Source: Madame Curie)