With International Women’s Day having passed us by just recently, and we continue to rally the cause of women empowerment, there are still so many disappointing incidents that make us realise that gender equality is far from being a reality. Be it the wide pay gap between Indian male and female cricket players that irked people just days ago or the everyday sexism women face in their lives. But it cannot be negated that we have come a long way since our previous generations, and for that we have to thank those women who lay the first path for modern-day women to walk on. And among those at the top of the list is Marie Curie. Yes, the first woman ever to win a Nobel Prize way back in 1903, she was surely a woman in a man’s world. She was also the first scientist ever to have won two Nobels and is still one of only two to have won in two different scientific disciplines.
Though there can be no one way of representing the contribution of Curie, this one photograph from 1927 comes quite close. In the wake of this year’s Women’s Day, this extremely rare photograph has resurfaced on social media and has been doing the rounds on the Internet.
The iconic photo captured at the Solvay Conference in the year 1927, shows some of the world’s most respected scientists, including Einstein, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Planck and what makes it particularly significant is that there is only one woman in the group — Curie. The historic photo is often regarded as the ‘most intelligent photo of all time’ was taken in October at Fifth Solvay International Conference on Electrons and Photons, where the world’s most notable physicists met to discuss the newly formulated quantum theory.
— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) March 8, 2018
According to reports, here are how the scientists have been placed:
Back row L-R: A Piccard, E Henriot, P Ehrenfest, Ed Herzen, Th. De Donder, E Schroedinger, E Verschaffelt, W Pauli, W Heisenberg, RH Fowler, L Brillouin
Middle row L-R: P Debye, M Knudsen, WL Bragg, HA Kramers. PA M Dirac, AH Compton, LV De Broglie, M Born, N Bohr
Front row: L-R: Angmeir, M Planck, M Curie, HA Lorentz, A Einstein, P Langevin, Ch E Guye, CTR Wilson, OW Richardson
While this photograph has been around for a while, this year’s resurfacing around March 8 (Women’s Day) has been hailed by many. Here’s a sample of what Tweeple have been saying:
She’s the only female
— Your Heart’s Desire (@Nerdy_P) March 8, 2018
— Eamonn Noonan (@Noonan2030) March 2, 2018
*Marie Sklodowska Curie – I just know because the European Union renamed their science award so made me a proud carrier of that name
— koen pauwels (@romimarketer) March 1, 2018
YES!! Give Marie the credit she deserves
— ashley •ᴗ• (@cafethots) March 1, 2018
Here’s another photo that shows how Curie made her mark in the scientific world.
Did you know: In 1913 Marie Sklodowska Curie was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University.
During her award, the principal of the university, Sir Oliver Lodge, called Marie Curie “the greatest woman of science of all time”.
Image: @CadburyRL #UoBWomen #IWD18 pic.twitter.com/6BQ5F1OxGn
— Uni of Birmingham (@unibirmingham) March 8, 2018
The photo taken in Brussels is also iconic because 17 of the 29 attendees were already or went on to become Nobel Prize winners. And significantly, Curie was also the only one to win not one but two Nobel Prizes in two different scientific fields. Yes, while the Warsaw-born scientist first award was in Physics, her second one was in Chemistry in the year 1911.