A few years back I wanted to visit the Curie Museum in Paris and it was closed for renovations. It reopened in 2012, but I didn’t have a chance to see it until 2015, but this one was worth the proverbial wait. It’ s a small museum: even if you carefully look at every display, it will only take an hour or two.
There won’t be throngs of people clotting around the Mona Lisa, you’ll be able to look at everything without being rushed. And, in keeping with the Curie spirit, admission is free, but you must go Wed-Sat from 1 PM until 5 PM. Squeeze it in, it’s worth it!
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How she met Pierre
Two elements and one baby in the same year
The medical uses of radium
An odd courtship
The radioactivity puzzle
1903, a hard year for the Curie family
Radioactivity gets into everything!
Pierre voluntarily exposes himself to radium
“Nul n’est prophète en son pays” (you can’t be a prophet in your own village)
In science we must be interested in things, not in persons
In this episode I give you the background information you’ll want to know before you go so you can appreciate what she was all about. Nobody can do justice to a great family in the span of a short podcast, but I shall try.
Discrimination Against Women as Seen in Marie Curie’s Life
She could not enroll in the university in Poland, she had to expatriate herself in order to study
Everyone assumed she was her husband’s assistant
Her husband Pierre is the one that made sure she got recognition
She didn’t have a chance to teach at the Sorbonne until her husband died
The nomination for her first Nobel Prize did not initially include Marie’s name!
In a science team that included both men and women, everyone used to assume the men did all the work
Marie Curie could not present her findings at the French Academy of Sciences because, being a woman, she couldn’t be a member of the Academy of Sciences
The Curie Museum in Paris is lovely, but it’s tiny. There are old-dead generals with more recognition than she gets in Paris, and that is outrageous!
No use of the first person in formal papers which makes it difficult to decide who did what
Marie Curie was not only hard-working, she was brilliant as well
Albert Einstein said “Marie Curie is, of all beings, the only one whom fame has not corrupted”
And finally, this is the standard response people received when they requested an autograph picture:
The Pantheon in Paris is a complicated building that started out as a Catholic Church dedicated to Sainte Geneviève, the Patron Saint of Paris, then under the French Revolution became a secular monument meant to honor French Revolutionaries, then grew to include famous authors, notable persons and patriots. It is the burial-place of French notables such as Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Louis Braille, Jean Jaurès, Marie Curie, and seventy-two more.
In this episode I give you some background on the Pantheon so you can decide if you’d like to visit it next time you’re in Paris. I also address some of the controversial topics having to do with the Pantheon. Why are there so few women in the Pantheon? Why were some people taken out of the Pantheon? What does it feel like visiting the Pantheon? Four new greats were introduced into the Pantheon in June 2015. Who are they?
I answer a listener question at the end of the show on how to get from CDG airport into Paris using public transportation. Instructions on how to get to the center of Paris from CDG Terminal 1, from CDG Terminal 2 Would love more questions, click here to ask your question!
Also, for the first time today, the French Tip of the Week on how to ask for direction to the metro or RER in Paris.
Bonjour Monsieur, je cherche le métro. Pouvez-vous m’aider ?
Places mentioned on today’s show: Pantheon, Lycée Henri IV, Saint-Étienne-du-Mont Church, Jardins du Luxembourg, rue Souflot.
The chocolate museum in Paris is not the only one you can visit in France (see Episode 47 for the one found in Bayonne), but in my opinion, if you can only visit one, this should be the one. Choco-story has something for everyone:
Those who enjoy learning about the history of technology
Those who like pretty objects
And those, like me, who can’t wait to have their next bite of chocolate!
I wouldn’t say that this should be on everyone’s must-see list of Paris, but if you’ve visited Paris a few times and you’d like to see a museum that is easy to visit and enjoy, it’s a great choice. Let me hasten to say that I have no commercial relationship with this museum, I’m just sharing my opinion.
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