When we hear the name Curie we immediately think of Madame Curie and her husband Pierre, both Nobel Prize winners. But they also had a daughter, Irène, who was born in Paris in 1897 and who was also awarded a Nobel Prize.
Irène studied physics and chemistry during the First World War, while helping perform X-rays in various hospitals in France. She married another scientist, Frederic Joliot, her mother’s assistant. Although Irène’s academic opportunities may have been helped by her mother, it is also true that Madame Curie’s fame overshadowed everything her daughter did for Science.
Like her mother, she made progress in synthesizing radioactive elements, which, if used properly, can help to diagnose and cure diseases. She always worked in collaboration with her husband. Unfortunately, Irène died of leukaemia, a disease very common at that time in people working unprotected against radioactivity.