Marie Curie became very famous for her work in radioactivity. In 1903, Marie and her husband, Pierre, shared a Nobel Prize in Physics with another scientist, and in 1911, Marie won her own Nobel, in chemistry, for her research and discovery of two new radioactive elements: radium and polonium (named after her home country, Poland). So far she’s the only woman who’s won two Nobel prizes. There’s still time, Ke$ha!
But wait! Can you just imagine how difficult it would be to be the Curies’ child? The things you have to live up to? The expectations? Your childhood spent staring at the Nobel Prize sitting on top of the TV? (Okay, there wasn‘t TV back then BUT STILL!) Not to be outdone, Marie and Pierre’s daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, along with her husband, Frédéric, also won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, in 1935. Figures.
But of course, the Curies and their offspring are the exception to the rule that nuclear scientists basically work hard in relative anonymity. So, if it’s fame you’re after, check out another occupation…like Arborist to the Stars or the Investment Banker who took over Bernie Madoff’s clients when he went to prison.