Analytical: Marie Curie

As a woman scientist, I am in awe of Marie Curie.  She was the first to win Nobel Prizes in two scientific fields.  She received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903, along with her husband Pierre Curie and Antoine Henri Becquerel, for their discoveries in radioactivity.  In 1911, she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering polonium and radium elements.  She was also the first female professor at the University of Paris:  She held the position of Professor of General Physics, which was previously reserved exclusively for men.  

Marie Curie is the embodiment of Analytical strength!  She was always searching for reasons and causes.  She could think about all of the factors that might affect a situation.  Her passion for pursuing answers ultimately caused her death.  (This dogged persistence, whilst admirable, caused her to take significant risks…an example of the downside of her strength).  Due to the high levels of radioactivity in Marie Curie’s laboratory and her work with radioactive materials, her personal belongings, including her laboratory notebook, are considered too dangerous to handle even today.  They are stored in lead-lined boxes and can only be accessed while wearing protective gear.

Her analytical strength was tempered by her compassion (perhaps she also had empathy in her Top 5 strengths which down-regulated her intense passion for her research).  During World War I, she recognised the urgent need for medical imaging techniques to aid in diagnosing injuries suffered by soldiers.  She saw the potential of using X-rays as a non-invasive method to visualise internal structures and locate bullets or shrapnel.

Curie and her 17-year-old daughter Irène set out to establish radiography units near the front lines.  They faced numerous challenges, including limited resources and a lack of equipment.  However, their analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities allowed them to adapt and innovate.

With limited X-ray machines available, Curie had to maximise their efficiency.  She developed a technique called “shadow printing” or “trench radiography.” This method involved placing wounded soldiers directly onto photographic plates to capture the X-ray image, eliminating the need for expensive and scarce X-ray film.


Curie’s analytical approach extended to the development of specialised darkroom techniques as well.  She worked meticulously to improve the quality of the X-ray images, experimenting with various chemicals and exposure times to enhance visibility and clarity.

Through her analytical mindset, determination, and resourcefulness, Marie Curie successfully implemented radiography in field hospitals, significantly improving the accuracy and speed of diagnoses for wounded soldiers.  Her contributions saved lives during the war and laid the foundation for modern medical imaging techniques.

Marie Curie’s ability to think critically, adapt, and develop innovative solutions in challenging circumstances exemplifies her exceptional analytical skills.  Her work in radiography showcases her relentless pursuit of practical applications for her scientific knowledge and her commitment to advancing medical care.

About the Wayfinders' Blog

The Wayfinders’ Blog helps individuals, teams and organisations discover and develop their unique strengths. I provide valuable insights and practical tips to my audience empowering them to develop their talents into strengths and achieve their goals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *