A woman in England who recently celebrated her birthday requested a cake decorated with a picture of her favorite singer, Mariah Carey. However the birthday girl was probably feeling emotions when she saw the result, which was topped not with the singer of "Hero" but with the face of one of science's heroes: Marie Curie, who conducted groundbreaking work on radioactivity.
As a cake topper, the renowned scientist looked "very festive," said writer Harriet Alida Lye, who tweeted a photo of the cake on June 14.
Lye's tweet about her cousin's cake — which read "Happy Birthday Siobhan" around Curie's somber face, and was surrounded by pink-frosted cupcakes — was shared more than 43,000 times, and has since received over 200,000 likes. [The 10 Noblest Nobel Prize Winners of All Time]
Carey's prowess as a musician is notable: She is a world-renowned recording artist who earned five Grammy Awards since the release of her debut album in 1990.
However, Curie's accomplishments are arguably just as cake-worthy. She discovered the first evidence of radioactivity, a feat that in 1903 earned Curie and her husband Pierre Curie the Nobel Prize in Physics, which was awarded jointly with the French physicist Henri Becquerel.
Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, but her achievements didn't stop there. In 1911, she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her discovery of the elements radium and polonium. She is the only woman to have won the Nobel Prize twice and the only person to have been awarded the Nobel Prize in two scientific fields.
Curie died in 1934 of a blood disease called aplastic anemia, which is thought to have been caused by years of radiation exposure during her research. But were she alive today, Curie might have been amused by this case of mis-baken identity; she once said, "Have no fear of perfection; you'll never reach it," according to the British hospice organization Marie Curie, named for the pioneering scientist.
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Originally published on Live Science.
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Mindy Weisberger is a Live Science editor for the channels Animals and Planet Earth. She also reports on general science, covering climate change, paleontology, biology, and space. Mindy studied film at Columbia University; prior to Live Science she produced, wrote and directed media for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Her videos about dinosaurs, astrophysics, biodiversity and evolution appear in museums and science centers worldwide, earning awards such as the CINE Golden Eagle and the Communicator Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in Scientific American, The Washington Post and How It Works Magazine.