Several tons of pitchblende were donated by the Austrian government, but the space Marie was using for a lab was too small. The Curies moved their research to an old shed outside of the school. Processing the ore was backbreaking work. New protocols for separating the pitchblende into its chemical components had to be devised. Marie often worked late into the night stirring huge cauldrons with an iron rod nearly as tall as her.
Little by little, various components of the ore were tested. The Curies found that two of the chemical components, one containing mostly bismuth and another containing mostly barium, were strongly radioactive. In July 1898, the Curies published their conclusion the bismuth compound contained a previously undiscovered radioactive element that they named polonium, after Marie's native country, Poland. By the end of that year they had isolated a second radioactive element they called radium, from radius, the Latin word for rays. In 1902, they announced success in extracting purified radium.In June 1903, Marie was the first woman in Europe to earn a doctorate in physics. In November of that year the Curies, together with Henri Becquerel, were named winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics for their contributions to the understanding of atomic structure. The nominating committee objected to including a woman as a Nobel Laureate, but Pierre insisted that the original research was Maries. In 1911, after Pierres death, Marie was awarded a second Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her discovery of the elements polonium and radium.