Famous Family History Marie Curie Parents

About the family of famous scientist Marie Curie, history of her father and mother.

MARIE CURIE (1867-1934),

Polish-French chemist, physicist

Her Roots: Marie (or Marja) Sklodowska was the fifth and youngest child of an exceptional pair, but Russian authorities in Poland held intellectuals like Marie's parents in poor esteem. Thus, while the Sklodowski family would have ranked among the cultural elite in any other country, its economic status was low in Poland.

According to her granddaughter, Marie's mother "was certainly the most balanced and most intelligent" child of Felix Boguski, a country squire of limited means. Educated in Warsaw, Bronislawa Boguska (?-1878) became a teacher, then the director of a private school. "The peaceful, secret look of her gray eyes lengthened like the eyes of Egypt," wrote Eve Curie, and her talents included skill in piano and voice. Her 1860 marriage to Vladislav Sklodowski (?-1902), a young professor of mathematics and physics, was regarded as a "very suitable" match. His ancestors were farmers from the clan of Sklody north of Warsaw, but his father, Joseph, the first intellectual in the family, had gone to school and then entered the teaching profession. Vladislav, Marie's father, received his scientific education in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Marie's mother died of tuberculosis when Marie was 10. To the family gathered around her deathbed, her last words were "I love you." The family endured privation as Vladislav, the victim of a bad investment and demoted in his position, took upon himself the task of raising his children. His humiliating reverses, for which he blamed only himself, caused him bitter remorse, yet he presented a serene, methodical countenance to the world. He was a kind, attentive father, a gentle pedant who opened vast riches of the mind to his children. Marie never forgot the Saturday evenings at home when he read aloud, enunciating precisely as he introduced his flock to literary masterpieces, translating some of them from foreign languages as he read. He helped Marie, when he could, with her schooling expenses, instructed her in mathematics, and followed her career with intense interest. He never remarried. His devotion to the daily tasks of teaching prevented his own research career, and both father and daughter realized that Marie fulfilled, in a sense, the ambitions of Professor Sklodowski. Vladislav was one of those rare parents who understand the true significance of a gifted child's work. His last years, filled with quiet pride at the accomplishments of his children, were spent in Warsaw.

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