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

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

by Lauren Redniss


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061351327
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/21/2010
Pages: 205
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 11.25(h) x 0.75(d)

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.

What People are Saying About This

Richard Rhodes

“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.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

“One of the most beautiful books-as-object that I’ve ever seen.”

Nicole Krauss

“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.”

Robert Krulwich

“[An] excellent new book.”

Malcolm Gladwell

“Radioactive is quite unlike any book I have ever read—part history, part love story, part art work and all parts sheer imaginative genius.”

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Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
westonm More than 1 year ago
¿Radioactive¿ by Lauren Redniss. A beautifully illustrated, if strangely chosen, pastiche on the life and love of Marie and Pierre Curie and the impact of their work in science on the world. The book is in the style of short vignettes, printed on multi-colored pages in triangular and other unusual formats with colored fonts (which are sometimes difficult to read) intermingled with abstract , a few photographs and a copy of an FBI report. The story of the Curies and of their offspring the Joliet-Curies and of Marie¿s later liason with Langevin are interesting and coherent. However, the choice of intermingled vignettes presumably illustrating the impact of the Curies¿ scientific work on the world is quite odd an uniformed: there is a vignette on 250 young women who suffered from radiation effects due to licking the paint brushes used to apply radium containing paint to watch numerals and another on a couple who were convinced that their repeated visits to a Montana mine converted to a radon health spa had saved the wife¿s life, but no mention of the enormous benefits to billions of medical X-rays, radiation therapy and nuclear electricity.
debnance on LibraryThing 11 months ago
When I was in second grade, I was bored and my teacher did what all good teachers do when they have students who are bored in class: she assigned me a research project.My research project was on Marie and Pierre Curie.Here I was, seven years old, reading about radiation and atomic particles and nuclear energy. I was fascinated, even if I didn¿t quite get everything I read.The minute I saw this book, I knew it was a book that I had to read. If nothing else, I wanted to see if I understood radiation and atomic particles and nuclear energy any better this side of life.Even though this book was a National Book Award Finalist, I could not find it at any of the seven libraries to which I have cards. I finally broke down and bought it.It was a worthwhile purchase. I¿d classify it as a graphic novel, a picture book for grownups, with brilliant illustrations that add to the text. Lauren Redniss, who wrote the text and created the illustrations, tells the story of Marie and Pierre Curie, a story of the power and destruction that came with the discovery of radiation. One of my favorite reads of this year.
kayronald on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Luminous -- finally a graphic novel for adults with beautiful art work, historical biography, romance, and connections to present day. A masterpiece!
msf59 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I had heard the name Marie Curie, but I did not know much about this pioneering scientist. Wow, what an eye-opener. She was born in Poland in 1867 and moved to Paris in 1891, to study science at the University of Paris. A couple years later, she meets Pierre Curie, an instructor at the School of Physics and Chemistry. They soon marry and begin blazing a path, that will bring both wonder to the world and incredible destruction.This all will launch, with their discovery of polonium and radium, which sets off a long list of breakthroughs, leading to ¿radioactivity¿, a term they both coined. I think we know where this is heading.I am not much of a science geek, but I do not think there has ever been a pairing, in the history of science, that has reached these monumental achievements. The couple ended up winning the Nobel Peace Prize for physics and eight years later, Marie earned a second one for chemistry.Yes, this wonderful graphic biography, is a love story and a scientific history lesson but it is also explores the horrible repercussions: ¿The Fallout¿ part of the title. Hiroshima, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl make appearances, along with a few lesser horror stories featuring the evils of radiation.I cannot express how perfect this all comes together, with simple illustrations and a vibrant palette of colors, all held together with a strong narrative drive. Find this book!
detailmuse on LibraryThing 11 months ago
In Radioactive, Lauren Redniss uses art (primarily illustrations created through a process of ¿cyanotype printing¿ that evokes negative images and glowing radiation) to present a biography of Marie Curie ... and of radiation itself, from Roentgen to Hiroshima to Spider-man.Even the words are art, in a font (developed by the author) that looks like delicate hand-printing and is arranged interestingly on the pages. I enjoyed seeing the personal side of Marie Curie, loved learning that Roentgen ¿dubbed the invisible light an `X¿ ray, X for unknown,¿ and can understand how, at the turn of the century, the piling-up of discoveries of so many invisible forces (electricity, radio, telegraph, x-ray, radioactivity) ¿blurred the boundary between science and magic.¿It¿s a part linear, part segue-filled slideshow. Lovely.
-Cee- on LibraryThing 11 months ago
This is a uniquely creative graphic biography that will grab your! Even if you have never tried this format before, you really should give this book a chance to WOW you. The artwork is bewitching; the format exciting. And, oh! the colors... You can't help but be swept away into a world of mystery, love, and scientific discovery as you read and absorb each stunning page. The appearance of the book is obviously attractive, but just as appealing, you have the story of an amazing family - their love, struggles, successes, scandals and enormous impact on the world of their own time, the present and the future. Marie Curie's discovery of radioactivity is held in the light of pacifism, mysticism, wartime destruction, and future potential. She is the heroine of her family and the world.This book is not fluff. It is not stuffy. I learned interesting details and concepts of substance. And I was charmed!
labfs39 on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Not being an artist or a frequent reader of graphic novels, I approach the genre with hesitation, almost as though it is not meant for me. Occasionally, I will be captivated by a story and how it is enhanced by the illustrations, other times I feel as though I'm looking for a cucumber in the cereal aisle. Such was my reaction to Radioactive. The plot line was fascinating: the lives of Marie and Pierre Curie and their work as scientists. I immediately wanted to go out and get a more comprehensive memoir. This one is almost like a dream sequence or fable of their lives, although seemingly well-researched. The illustrations are bright and large, often covering both facing pages, and are interspersed with photographs. Although both text and art were good, together it felt a bit busy, and I enjoyed it more when I read and looked at pictures separately.
jolerie on LibraryThing 11 months ago
Marie and Pierre Curie may possibly be one of the most famous couples in the science world who lived, loved, and breathed their work. Their research, discoveries, and advancements eventually garners Marie two illustrious Nobel Peace prizes and a legacy that has echoed through their own children and numerous scientists after them.Radioactive is a graphic novel that has the look and feel of a well put together scrapbook. The pages are filled with vibrant drawings and designs, but is balanced with text that shares with us the story of Marie, Pierre, their love and dedication to their work and to one another. To be honest, I found the science part of the book rather daunting and overwhelming. It reminded me too much of my inadequacy in understanding the complexity of chemistry. I would have been much more interested in the personal story of Marie and Pierre and yet the reality is that their love for the sciences was so much a part of who they were as individuals and as a couple that you couldn't share one without the other. The concept of the graphic novel and the blending of story and artwork was certainly enjoyable, but in the end, the difficulties I encountered trying to bridge the gap between their brilliance and my lack of understanding lead to a rather perfunctory reading experience.
3wheeledlibrarian on LibraryThing 11 months ago
This is a stunning book. I highly recommend it, not only for students of the history of science, but also for anyone interested in graphics or art. It is the tale, not only of the love affair of Marie and Pierre Curie, but of the field that they founded. Moments in their life together are interwoven with modern events like the Chernobyl disaster, and nuclear bomb tests in Nevada during the Cold War. The book is a work of art, many of the pages carefully composed from hand colored cyanotype prints. Each page of text is uniquely formatted to meet the needs of the story at that point. An incredible masterpiece! Highly recommended.
jnwelch on LibraryThing 11 months ago
"Returning to the roots of her research, Marie began assembling hospital X-ray units. Then she brought the technology directly to the battlefield, rigging an automobile with tubes and screens and electricity to create a mobile X-ray facility. By the war's end, Marie and Irene {her daughter} had outfitted 18 such vehicles, which came to be known as "petite Curies" . . . No longer were doctors performing blind exploratory surgeries on already damaged bodies."Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss is full of interesting stories like this. It tracks the scientific discoveries of Pierre and Marie, and their progeny (e.g. daughter Irene and her husband also won a Nobel Prize), as well as their emotional relationships, particularly Marie's after Pierre dies in an accident. For the reader there is the underlying tragedy that all that study of radium led to poisonous radiation exposure. Their laboratory notebooks are still radioactive more than a hundred years later.The interlocking lives of great scientists described in the book are fascinating. For example, it turns out that Marie's lover Paul Langevin was one of the leading scientists of his generation, creating the first effective echolocation system for detecting submarines, and escaping from the Nazis after capture. Daughter Irene and her husband discovered that radioactivity could be "provoked", which discovery eventually would lead to the atomic bomb. Irene and her husband's son became a biophysicist and their daughter a nuclear physicist. What a family!For all of this, I have mixed feelings about the book. I never did find a rhythm in reading it. Dense text pops up followed by wordless or sparsely worded illustrations, followed by photographs and pencil sketches of objects and nameless people, followed by historical photographs of famous scientists, followed by more dense text and chalk drawings of oceanfront. This obviously has worked just fine for some reviewers, but for me it was disjointed and not engaging. I'm glad I read it for the stories I otherwise wouldn't have known, but I can't call the read a pleasure.
alsatia on LibraryThing 11 months ago
This is a luminous book, and I use that word very deliberately. It interweaves the biography of Marie Curie with the development of the technologies that her work made possible, such as nuclear medicine, atomic power, and of course the atomic bomb. The book is illustrated throughout with cyanotype printing. Each page glows like the radium that Curie is so famous for studying. A suprising and moving read.
DebbieLE on LibraryThing 11 months ago
I really enjoyed this book. It is a true feast for the eyes, a work of art. Every page has a different layout, different font, different colors. You have two choices with this book, you can read the story by either the words or the illustrations.Besides the obvious visual interest the book provides it also gives you an introduction to Madame and Pierre Curie and the history of the discovery of radioactivity. I found this just an introduction which left me with a curiosity to learn more. I would be really interested in reading a longer biography on the Curies and a more in-depth history of radioactivity. In this aspect I found the book a little bit lacking. I was not satisfied at the end. However the fact that it sparked my interest enough for me to want to seek out further information is to it's credit.I believe that this book is worth a look if only for the visual feast it is. If you are interested in Marie and Pierre Curie or the discovery of radioactivity you will definitely find this book to be something special!
Citizenjoyce on LibraryThing 11 months ago
This is a beautiful story of love, science and magic. I didn't know that Marie's daughter also won the Nobel Prize and that her granddaughter married the grandson of her lover and also is a scientist. What an amazing life. I'm sure if she were alive now certain talk show hosts would call her a slut, this genius who saw beauty, connections and magic in life.
samreads More than 1 year ago
Radioactive depicts the personal and scholarly life of Marie Curie and the people she grows to love and the people she comes across. In a unique and vivid format, Lauren Redniss illustrates and shares the ups and downs of Curie’s life from her arrival in Paris, her scientific discoveries, and her public life. Radioactive is such a fun alternative to a regular ol’ biography. It’s filled with vivid art and easy to read text. I especially liked the inclusion of various other information and tidbits relating back to the Curie’s work and the interconnectedness between their work and other scientists. Not only is it informational and crafted with stunning illustrations, Redniss took extra care in showcasing all that could be possible in sharing a biographical work - adding special features from the font of the text to the ink the pages are printed in. Also, a really awesome perk, some sections glow in the dark, just like the radioactive materials Marie and Pierre Curie discovered. It’s a beautiful book and a must have for your personal library. Read if you like: non fiction - biography, science, graphic novels, illustrated works
claudika More than 1 year ago
This is a great book! Give me a good reason why is not available on NOOK yet?
stitchingpink More than 1 year ago
I won't do this book justice with a review. It is simply beautiful.
Muhkenziee More than 1 year ago
Why isnt this a nookbook yet?! I wanna read it so baddddd!