Marie Curie

English Listening Lesson

Listening level: 4
Audio file: 2:26 min
Story length: 308 words


Here is the listening file for this lesson.



Marie Curie won two Nobel Prizes and was the first female professor employed by a European university. Her life is a story of focus, difficulty and achievement.

She was born in Poland in 1867. When she was eleven, her oldest sister and mother died. Despite these considerable challenges, she graduated high school as the top student.

Marie and her other sister dreamed about attending university in France, but they did not have enough money. So they made a plan. Marie worked and paid for her sister’s education. After her sister graduated, she paid for Marie’s education.

Marie worked as a home teacher. In her spare time, she read science books. When she was 24, she went to university in Paris.

She did not have much money so she survived on bread, butter and tea. She was often tired and ill. Although student life was tough, Marie finished as the top student in her class.

While working in a lab doing experiments, she met a bright scientist and researcher. He was Pierre Curie. They married in 1895.

In 1903, they won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work with radioactivity. Initially, the Nobel team did not want to give the honor to a woman. Pierre complained and demanded that Marie share the award.

Pierre died in an accident a few years later. The day after the funeral, Marie returned to work. One month later, she was teaching at Sorbonne University. She took Pierre’s old job. That is how Marie became the first female professor in Europe.

Marie won a second Nobel Prize in 1911. This one was a chemistry prize for her work with radium and polonium. Radium was important for x-rays and treating cancer.

Marie died in 1934 from a disease caused by radiation. One year later, her daughter Irene won a chemistry Nobel Prize.

Marie Curie was a talented scientist. Her life teaches us that success requires drive and courage.

The image used in this post is believed to be in the public domain.

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