Google wishes scientist Marie Curie a happy 144th birthday

Nov. 7, 2011 at 8:36 AM ET

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Marie Curie was a pioneer in radioactivity research, the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize, and the first person to receive Nobel Prizes in two different fields (one in physics and one in chemistry). And while it may pale in comparison to her many other accomplishments, today — on what would've been her 144th birthday — she also becomes a Google doodle honoree.

You're probably aware by now that a Google doodle — a redesigned version of the Google home page logo — is the highest honor the search engine can bestow on a significant date. Some of the more elaborate ones we've seen in recent memory include a Freddie Mercury birthday video, an animated interpretation of John Lennon's "Imagine," and a playable/recordable Les Paul guitar.

Next to those particular Google doodles, Curie's is plain — it is not interactive or animated — but it is somehow fitting for the scientist. A visit to the Google homepage reveals an illustration of Curie sitting at a workbench covered with various flasks. She appears to be in the middle of an experiment as the Google logo casts a shadow behind her.

We're glad to see this simple yet poignant logo mark the addition of Curie to the short list of scientists who have been honored with Google doodles. She's in pretty good company with physiologist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, geneticist Gregor Mendel, chemist Robert Bunsen, inventor Thomas Edison and several others.

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