Thursday Dec. 10, 2020’s Smile of the Day: Irene Curie and her Family

On this Day:

Irène (nee Curie) and her husband, Frédéric Joliot, would take home a Nobel Prize in chemistry on this day in 1936.

But this was only part of the Curie Clan’s history with the Nobel Prize.  Marie Curie (born Marya Sklodowska) and her husband Pierre won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1903 when their older daughter Irène was just 6 years old. Marie would go on to win a second Nobel in chemistry in 1911 — the first person ever to receive the prize twice.  Then in 1965, their younger daughter Ève’s husband, Henry Labouisse, would accept the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of UNICEF, the humanitarian organization he ran. Just winning one Nobel Prize is an incredible accomplishment. This family holds more Nobel Prizes than any other.

Marie Curie was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in France. She was the first female professor at the Sorbonne. The first woman to win the Nobel Prize. The first person to win more than one Nobel Prize (and to this day, the only woman to win more than once). And the first person to win a Nobel in more than one scientific field.

Irène became her mother’s assistant at the Radium Institute while completing her studies. It’s there that Irene met engineer Frédéric Joliot, a trainee in Marie’s lab, whom she married in 1926. In 1934, the couple made a bombshell discovery when they figured out a way to artificially create radioactive atoms in the lab. It earned them a shared Nobel in chemistry the following year, making Irène and her parents the only mother-daughter and father-daughter pairs ever to receive the prize. 

The distinguished scientific tradition of the Curie family still lives on. Hélène Langevin-Joliot, the daughter of Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie, is a well-respected nuclear physicist in France. Hélène’s husband, Michael Langevin, is also a nuclear physicist, and their son is an astrophysicist (per

First, a Story:

Pierre Currie said to Marie:  “Marie, every day you look more radiant.”

Second, a Song:

I Love the World, also known as I Love the Whole World, is a advertisement song launched by Discovery Channel in 2008 in promotion of their new tagline: “The World is Just… Awesome”. The song used in the ad is a re-writing of a traditional camping song known as “I Love the Mountains” or “I Love the Flowers”, likely adapted from the tune of “Heart and Soul”, featuring a chorus of “boom-de-yah-da, boom-de-yah-da”. In May of 2020, Discovery Channel released an updated version of the piece, called “The World Is Still Awesome” on their YouTube Channel.

The cast and visuals of the ads are numerous, as it features many hosts and famous scenes/locations from various Discovery Channel shows. We have featured the longer version of  I Love the Whole World / The World Is Just Awesome.  I hope  you enjoy this.  Boom-de-yah-da!


Thought for the Day:

“I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy.” – Marie Curie

Have a great day!

© 2020 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky

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