Yesterday’s “Pointless” programme on BBC1 had me more than a little confused and I just looked up the life of Marie Curie to try and sort out my confusion.

One of the question categories was on Marie Curie, and two of the questions in the category were:

(1) What element did she discover?  (2) What subject was her Nobel Prize in?

I thought I knew both answers.  For the first I knew the element was Polonium, named after her native Poland.  However the contestant answered Radium and that is the answer that “Pointless” had as well.  Turns out that Marie Curie discovered BOTH Radium and Polonium – how about that then!!

For the second question I knew she had a Nobel Prize in Physics, but the female contestant wasn’t sure if her Nobel Prize was in Physics or Chemistry.  “Pointless” gave the answer as Physics.  Once again the correct answer is BOTH!!!!!  She got the Prize in Physics in 1903 and the Prize in Chemistry in 1911.  The only other person to receive 2 Nobel Prizes in two separate disciplines was Linus Pauling who won the Prize in Chemistry in 1954 and the Peace Prize in 1962.  You may be wondering about John Bardeen.  John Bardeen also got two Nobel Prizes, but both were in the same discipline – Physics.  In 1956 he got the Prize for semiconductor and transistor theory, and in 1972 he got the prize for his part in the Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) theory of superconductivity.

Now ain’t that all interesting? 🙂 🙂


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