Biography Leonard Everett Fisher Marie Curie

ISBN 13: 9780027353754

Marie Curie

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9780027353754: Marie Curie

A foremost scientist at the turn of the century, Marie Curie grew up in a family that valued education. She was the first woman to study at the Sorbonne, and the first woman to teach there. She received the Nobel Prize twice, once in physics, once in chemistry. With her husband Pierre, she investigated the nature of radioactive elements, coined the term "radioactivity," and discovered the elements polonium and radium.

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From Publishers Weekly:

In what is hardly among his most scintillating books, Fisher (Gutenberg; Kinderdike) offers a rather dry chronicle of the life of Marie Curie, who was born Manya Sklodowska in Warsaw in 1867. After working as a governess, Marie fulfilled a youthful dream in 1891, when she enrolled as a physics student at the Sorbonne-the first and only woman student. Living in poverty, she conducted much of her research in a laboratory she shared with the noted scientist Pierre Curie. The two continued to work together after their marriage in 1895, and in 1898 announced their discovery of radium. Marie was awarded a doctor of physical science degree and eventually, with her husband, received the Nobel Prize in physics. After Pierre's death in 1906, Marie took over his duties at the Sorbonne but, because she was a woman, was not allowed to become a member of the French Academy of Science. During WWI, Marie and her daughter drove a truck loaded with X-ray and radium therapy equipment onto the battlefields of France, where they treated wounded soldiers. Ironically, the scientist's chronic ailments-and her death in 1934-were caused by her extensive exposure to radiation. Fisher's expert but somber black-and-white acrylic paintings do little to relieve the generally melancholy tenor of the text. Ages 7-11.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 3-5-Handsomely designed and illustrated in tones of black and white, this is nevertheless a disappointing biography. While impressive, the paintings create a somber and forbidding mood that the occasionally dry text does not dispel. More importantly, the scientific information is not explained clearly enough for readers who would be most likely to choose a biography in a picture-book format. For instance, Fisher notes, "If radium did exist, then long-held ideas about the nature of matter would no longer be acceptable." Yet he doesn't mention what those ideas were, nor how the existence of radium would refute them. Later, he writes that the French government did not honor Curie's World War I contributions because of rumors of an "unproved love affair that offended powerful people," without explaining how or why it was unproven or considered offensive. Although the book clearly documents the discrimination Curie suffered as a pioneering woman in science, readers will find a more inviting approach in Steve Parker's Marie Curie and Radium (HarperCollins, 1992).
Cyrisse Jaffee, formerly at Newton Public Schools, MA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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