Why did Marie Curie Decide to Go to Stockholm?

​When a friend of Madam Curie invited her for a short holiday in Morges, Switzeland, she had to politely decline.

Hadar Ben-Yehuda

You see, she so happened to have a previous engagement that she had to fulfill. Probably.

Had Marie Curie been deliberately vague regarding her trip to Stockholm for any reason other than modesty at receiving her (second!) Nobel prize? Or perhaps she simply did not think much of it?

Her short letter to her friend, kept in the National Library of Israel’s archives, tells this little tale. The letter itself is radiation free.


We are happy to provide an English translation of the letter, followed by the original in Polish.

Marie Curie and daughter Irene, 1925, photographer unknown

Paris, November 24, 1911

Dear Madam,

I thank you most cordially for the telegram and the invitation which was repeated to me in person by Mr. Lentys. I would be very happy to come to Morges at once, however, I cannot leave Paris at the present time since I still have to attend to the matter known to you.

I shall probably go to Stockholm on December 8th and will stay there till the 12th or 13th. I intend to take along my daughter Irene (14 years old). I could not be in Morges before the 19th and I am afraid that on account of me you and Mr. Paderewsky might have to postpone your planned trip to Warsaw. I may therefore have to delay my visiting you in Morges some other time.

I am immeasurably grateful to you, my dear friends, for your cordiality and politeness which I shall not forget.

Respectfully and cordially yours,

M. Curie    

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