Radioactive
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Radioactive : Marie and Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout

By (author) Lauren Redniss

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The name Marie Curie is enshrined in every schoolchild's mind as one of the earliest and most inspirational female pioneers in the history of science. Yet the rich, vivid, and romantic story of Marya Salome Sklodwska - the young Polish national who discovered radioactivity - has been lost to time ...until now, in the pages of this stunning, wildly creative, and uniquely moving visual biography by one of the most creative artistic talents working today. Lauren Redniss, a celebrated "New York Times" illustrator and storyteller, has thrown herself deeply and passionately into researching the story of the real Marie Curie; of her passionate and tragic romantic life; and, of the century of scientific innovation and controversy that sprang from her discovery of radium and went on to change the course of world history. Drawing on her original archival research in Europe and the United States - and a host of new interviews with Curie family members and scientists who carry on the Curie tradition - Redniss has created a fascinating and deeply moving book. A visually stunning work of illustrative art, "Radioactive" walks the reader through the story of Curie's own life, which was marked by both extraordinary scientific discovery and dramatic personal trauma - from her romantic partnership with Pierre, through his tragic decline from radium poisoning and death in a traffic accident, to the scandalous affair with another fellow scientist that almost cost her second Nobel Prize. But it also casts an eye forward, to survey the changes wrought by Curie's discovery of radioactivity-illuminating the path from the Curie laboratory past the bright red mushroom clouds in the Nevada desert through Three Mile Island and the advance in radiation therapy and nuclear power today. Whether young or old, scientific novice or expert, no one will fail to be moved by Lauren Redniss' eerie and wondrous evocation of one of history's most intriguing figures.

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  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 215.9 x 287.02 x 22.86mm | 975.22g
  • 01 Feb 2011
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • It Books
  • New York
  • English
  • 0061351326
  • 9780061351327
  • 34,246

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Author Information

Lauren Redniss is the author of Century Girl: 100 years in the Life of Doris Eaton Travis, Last Living Star of the Ziegfeld Follies and Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout, a finalist for the 2011 National Book Award for non fiction. Her writing and drawing has appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, which nominated her work for the Pulitzer Prize. She was a fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars & Writers at the New York Public Library in 2008-2009 and became a New York Institute for the Humanities fellow in 2010. Beginning in 2012, she will be artist-in-residence at the American Museum of Natural History. She teaches at Parsons the New School for Design in New York City.

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Review quote

"[An] excellent new book." -- Robert Krulwich, NPR "[A] sumptuously illustrated visual biography...Radioactive is an incisive look at science's greatest partnership." -- Vogue "One of the most beautiful books-as-object that I've ever seen." -- Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love "[Radioactive is] a deeply unusual and forceful thing to have in your hands. 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 cliche, to be avoided at all costs, but it fits." -- New York Times "Radioactive is quite unlike any book I have ever read--part history, part love story, part art work and all parts sheer imaginative genius." -- Malcolm Gladwell "Absolutely dazzling. Lauren Redniss has created a book that is both vibrant history and a work of art. Like radium itself, Radioactive glows with energy." -- Richard Rhodes, author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, winner of the Pulitzer Prize "Radioactive offer innumerable wonders. Colors suddenly bloom into tremendous feeling, history contracts into a pair of elongated figures locked in an embrace, then expands again in an explosive rush of words. In this wholly original book about passion and discovery Lauren Redniss has invented her own unique form." -- Nicole Krauss, author of The History of Love

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Customer reviews

Stunning

Absolutely breathtaking. The story of Marie Curie is told in a passionate manner, not just about her life but also about her work. As well as the story is the implication and significance of her work today with life today with mentions of radiotherapy for the treatment of cancer and interviews with survivors from Hiroshima. Chemistry knowledge is not a requirement to enjoy or understand this beautifully presented book. The cover glows in the dark.show more
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