Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
In 1891, 24 year old Marie, née Marya 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 took their honeymoon on bicycles. 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. She won a second Nobel Prize in 1911, and fell in love again, this time with the married physicist Paul Langevin. Scandal ensued. Duels were fought.
In the century since the Curies began their work, we've struggled with nuclear weapons proliferation, debated the role of radiation in medical treatment, and pondered nuclear energy as a solution to climate change. In Radioactive, Lauren Redniss links these contentious questions to a love story in 19th Century Paris.
Radioactive draws on Redniss's original reporting in Asia, Europe and the United States, her interviews with scientists, engineers, weapons specialists, atomic bomb survivors, and Marie and Pierre Curie's own granddaughter.
Whether young or old, scientific novice or expert, no one will fail to be moved by Lauren Redniss's eerie and wondrous evocation of one of history's most intriguing figures.
A quick but good read
A different book than I usually read what with its colorful drawings that accompany the sparse text. But Ms. Redniss packs a lot of information in a quick read, enough to make me want to read more of the Curies and keep an eye on her future work.
I had a couple gripes with the iBook I read. The 'highlight' function was not operational, a disappointment. But far more egregious were the several passages where 'white text' was positioned on a 'white' background', and 'black text' on a 'black background', effectively making that text unreadable. Because the highlight function was not operational there was just no way to read those passages. I presume the paper versions of 'Radioactive' did not contain this flaw, but I am curious if anyone else experienced this phenomenon with the digital copy of 'Radioactive...'
Interesting look, cyanotype blue
Very reminiscent of British Illustrator Ralph Steadman's work. She gives
an interesting talk at TED (or somewhere on the internet) about the
cyanotype process (using the sun's UV rays to get the blue color).
Brilliant and surprising
This is a beautiful, moving and extremely well-researched book. A joy to experience on every level.