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Marie Sklodowska-Curie Stamps & First Day Envelopes Released


The Marie-Sklodowska-Curie stamp alongside the IAEA cachet. (Image: K.Vargas/IAEA)

For the first time in over two decades, the United Nations and the IAEA are collaborating on a new collection coming to the stamp counter.

The United Nations Postal Administration will issue a definitive set of Marie Sklodowska-Curie stamps and first-day envelopes adorned with a new IAEA distinctive cachet on 7 November 2023. The collection is to honour the anniversary of her birth and recognize her significant contributions to nuclear science.

Marie Sklodowska-Curie’s legacy maintains a strong connection to the IAEA through her pioneering breakthroughs in radioactive research and the discovery of radium and polonium. Even coining the term ‘radioactivity,’ Sklodowska-Curie fundamentally transformed our understanding of the atomic and subatomic worlds that exist today. Her work as a physicist and chemist extends into practical applications as well, most notably in the fields of radiology and radiation therapy. Because of her pioneering efforts, these medical advancements have saved and greatly improved countless lives.

Sklodowska-Curie set a ground breaking precedent for women during a time when they were heavily marginalized in the scientific community by becoming the first woman ever to win a Nobel Prize and the first individual to claim this prestigious honour twice. To this day, she is also the only person ever to receive two Nobel Prizes in different fields of science, one in physics in 1903 and one in chemistry in 1911.

The special envelope also pays tribute to the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship Programme (MSCFP), which upholds the IAEA’s commitment to promoting diversity and empowering women in nuclear science by aiming to increase the number of women in the field. The programme is designed to encourage and support women to engage in nuclear research and technology by providing female students with scholarships for master’s programmes and an opportunity to pursue an IAEA-facilitated internship.  

The IAEA also supports young women’s career development in the nuclear sector, via a programme honouring Austrian-Swedish physicist, Lise Meitner, who coincidentally shares the same birthday as Sklodowska-Curie. The two programmes work hand in hand, to attract and retain more women in nuclear. On the occasion of the birthdays of these two great scientists, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi announced an event commemorating International Women’s Day on 8 March 2024. The event will bring together participants of both programmes in Vienna, to exchange ideas and to strengthen their network and leadership skills, as well as industry and recruitment agencies to explore opportunities to advance their careers.

Marie Sklodowska-Curie is the latest famous historical figure the United Nations Postal Administration has released definitive stamps for. In past years, the administration has issued definitive stamps honouring Kofi Annan, Mahatma Gandhi, Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa and Wangari Maathai.

The forthcoming release of this philatelic cover is by the renowned Norwegian designer and stamp engraver, Martin Mörck, who is tasked with the intricate work of engraving the stamps to be released.

Sklodowska-Curie remains a symbol of relentless dedication to the pursuit of knowledge and as a trailblazer for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This unique collection serves as a tribute to one of history’s most influential scientists.

This limited collection can be found on unstamps.org, as well as in the IAEA souvenir shop and the UNPA stamp counter at checkpoint 1, in the Vienna International Center on its release date.

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