#FridayReads: Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss

RadioactiveMarieCurieWith all this talk about women in STEM and the abysmal numbers we sometimes forget that many of history’s greatest scientists were women. Yeah humankind hasn’t been awesome about how half the planet had social norms preventing them from pursuing their own lives and interests independent of men, but Marie Curie managed to be one of history’s greatest scientist and do it with her love.

In 1891, 24-year-old Marie Sklodowska moved from Warsaw to Paris, where she found work in the laboratory of Pierre Curie, a scientist engaged in research on heat and magnetism. They fell in love.  They expanded the periodic table, discovering two new elements with startling properties, radium and polonium. They recognized radioactivity as an atomic property, heralding the dawn of a new scientific era. They won the Nobel Prize. Newspapers mythologized the couple’s romance, beginning articles on the Curies with “Once upon a time . . . ” Then, in 1906, Pierre was killed in a freak accident. Marie continued their work alone.”

Lauren Redniss captures the life of Marie Curie both personally and professionally. Vogue calls it “a sumptuously illustrated visual biography….Radioactive is an incisive look at science’s greatest partnership” while the New York Times
says “Ms. Redniss’s text is long, literate and supple…Her drawings are both vivid and ethereal…Radioactive is serious science and brisk storytelling. The word ‘luminous’ is a critic’s cliché, to be avoided at all costs, but it fits.” (

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