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

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9780061351327: Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout

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.

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Review:

Amazon Best Books of the Month, December 2010: Lauren Redniss’s brilliant biography-in-collage is an astounding portrait of Marie and Pierre Curie, the husband-and-wife team who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903. Broken into seven chapters (introduced with scientific terms that hint at the stories to come), Radioactive fuses quotes from the scientists themselves with ones from the Curies’ own granddaughter, engineering and weapons experts, and even atomic bomb survivors that form a most interesting and informative narrative. Redniss’s styling doesn’t end with the way she tells the story: Radioactive is as visually stunning as it is factually rich. She jumps from black-and-white sketches to vibrantly colored depictions of the young couple’s courtship, collaborations, and eventually Pierre’s unexpected death. Within the stark pages of the chapter titled “Isolation,” the reader feels Marie’s loss; then in “Exposure” we watch as she falls in love again--this time under more controversial circumstances. Despite personal challenges, Marie continued to be ambitious and eventually became the first female professor at the Sorbonne, winning a second Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In Radioactive, Redniss shows a similar determination. Through her moody, evocative collages, she captures the drama of the Curies’ lives and their contributions to science and medicine, sending the reader on a one-of-a-kind historical and biographical journey that any curious mind will appreciate. --Jessica Schein

A Look Inside Radioactive: A Tale of Love and Fallout
Click on the photos below to open larger images.

Despite the tight quarters in his lab, Pierre Curie managed to find room for the delicate and grave foreign student. Marie Sklodowska and Pierre Curie wed on July 26, 1895. In 1900 Pierre strapped a tube of radium against his arm for ten hours. “To his joy, a lesion appeared,” reported his daughter Eve.

About the Author:

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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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2011. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Radioactive offer innumerable wonders.In this wholly original book about passion and discovery Lauren Redniss has invented her own unique form. -Nicole Krauss, author of Great House and The History of Love Quite unlike any book I have ever read.sheer imaginative genius. -Malcolm Gladwell Radioactive is the visual journey into the life of Marie Curie, as told through the dazzling collage style of acclaimed author and artist Lauren Redniss. A brilliant visual storyteller, Redniss has hand-designed more than 100 color collages to tell Curie s story, fascinating in its scientific significance and its sometimes whimsical, sometimes haunting mix of romance and intrigue. Bringing together archival photos, images, and clippings with dazzling line drawings and a compelling narrative, Radioactive is far more than just an art book or a graphic novel: It is a stunning visual biography and a true work of art. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780061351327

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2011. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780061351327

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc. Hardback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout, Lauren Redniss, 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. Bookseller Inventory # B9780061351327

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