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

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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 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.


About Lauren Redniss

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Lauren Redniss is the author of Century Girl: 100 Years in the Life of Doris Eaton Travis, Last Living Star of the Ziegfeld Follies. A graduate of Brown University and the School of Visual Arts, she is a frequent contributor to the Op-Ed page of the New York Times, which nominated her work for the Pulitzer Prize. In 2008-2009 she was a Fellow at the New York Public Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars & Writers, where she completed work on Radioactive. Lauren Redniss is a fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities and teaches at the Parsons School of Design. She lives in New York City.
Published December 21, 2010 by It Books. 208 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Radioactive

The New York Times

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An artist has presented a biography in graphic-novel form about Marie and Pierre Curie.

Dec 21 2010 | Read Full Review of Radioactive: Marie & Pierre C...

New York Journal of Books

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Time and place make the story of Marie and Pierre Curie unique in the world of science and history.

Dec 21 2010 | Read Full Review of Radioactive: Marie & Pierre C...

San Francisco Chronicle

Redniss shares remarkable details in her book - we learn how it took the Curies four years of grueling work in a Paris shed, with 40 tons of corrosive materials, to extract just one-tenth of a gram of radium chloride - and she takes readers on related side trips that show us the devastating tolls...

Jan 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Radioactive: Marie & Pierre C...

Seattle PI

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Apr 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Radioactive: Marie & Pierre C...

Bookmarks Magazine

By jonMon, 12/27/2010 - 17:05.

Dec 27 2010 | Read Full Review of Radioactive: Marie & Pierre C...

Scientific American

Oxford University Press, 2010.

Dec 22 2010 | Read Full Review of Radioactive: Marie & Pierre C...

Women's Voices for Change

Lauren Redniss displays her own style of genius as she captures the loves and lives of the Curies—Marie and Pierre—in her illustrated biography Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout, recently nominated for a National Book Award.

Nov 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Radioactive: Marie & Pierre C...

Brain Pickings

Now, from Chronicle Books comes The MAD Fold-In Collection: 1964-2010 — the definitive treasure trove of Jaffee’s genius, a formidable four-volume set featuring 410 fold-ins reproduced at original size, each thoughtfully accompanied by a digital representation of the folded image so you wouldn’t ...

Nov 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Radioactive: Marie & Pierre C...

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