Fame and Illness
In 1903 I finished my doctor's thesis and obtained the degree. At the end of the same year the Nobel prize was awarded jointly to Becquerel, my husband and me for the discovery of radioactivity and new radioactive elements.
This event greatly increased the publicity of our work. For some time there was no more peace. Visitors and demands for lectures and articles interrupted every day....
The fatigue resulting from the effort exceeding our forces, imposed by the unsatisfactory conditions of our labor, was augmented by the invasion of publicity. The overturn of our voluntary isolation was a cause of real suffering for us and had all the effect of disaster. It was serious trouble brought into the organization of our life, and I have already explained how indispensable was our freedom from external distraction, in order to maintain our family life and our scientific activity. Of course, people who contribute to that kind of trouble generally mean it kindly. It is only that they do not realize the conditions of the problem.
from Autobiographical Notes pp. 190-191.
Letters from Pierre Curie to his friend E. Gouy
20 March 1902
As you have seen, fortune favors us at this moment; but these favors of fortune do not come without many worries. We have never been less tranquil than at this moment. There are days when we scarcely have time to breathe. And to think that we dreamed of living in the wild, quite removed from human beings!
22 January 1904
wanted to write to you for a long time; excuse me if I have not done so.
The cause is the stupid life which I lead at present. You have seen this
sudden infatuation for radium, which has resulted for us in all the advantages
of a moment of popularity.
25 July 1905
We have regretted so much being deprived of your visit this year, but hope to see you in October. If we do not make an effort from time to time, we end by losing touch with our best and most congenial friends, and in keeping company with others for the simple reason that it is easy to meet them.
7 November 1905
I am neither very well, nor very ill; but I am easily fatigued, and I have left but very little capacity for work. My wife, on the contrary, leads a very active life, between her children, the School at Sèvres, and the laboratory. She does not lose a minute, and occupies herself more regularly than I can with the direction of the laboratory in which she passes the greater part of the day.