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    Marie Curie

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    November 7, 1867 – July 4, 1934

    The French Academy of Sciences is a revered institution. From 1699 on, this exclusive organization has been at the forefront and French — and world — scientific research. (Membership was not limited to scientists, however. Napoleon became a member in 1798 because his Egyptian expedition had a scientific component. Yeah, other than killing a lot of people. Go figure.)

    Getting elected into the Academy was not easy (if one was not Napoleon, of course). Candidates not only had to have an exemplary scientific pedigree, but also be voted in by the Academy's members. A super-exclusive club for nerds, really.

    So one would think that Marie Curie would be a shoe-in when she came up for election in 1911. After all, the Polish-born scientist won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903. How super-exclusive does one have to be to deny an entrance to a Nobel Prize winner?

    Well, the Academy was. Curie fell short of election, perhaps damaged by rumors that she was Jewish (she wasn't). And being a woman didn't help at all (stupid geniuses).

    Now, Curie did fine for herself, winning another Nobel Prize — for Chemistry — the very same year the Academy denied her entrance.

    Seriously, stupid geniuses.

    Verdict: Sadly, Not a Jew.

    July 22, 2010

    See Also

    Napoleon Bonaparte

    Gerty Cori

    Maria Goeppert-Mayer

    Lise Meitner

    Dmitry Mendeleev
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