Radioactive: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss
Harper Collins, New York, 2010
From my library hold list. I have Vasilly to thank for this one. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
From the epigraph:
With apologies to Marie Curie, who said,
“There is no connection between my scientific work and facts of private life.”
A biography told through words and pictures. A history of the discovery of radioactivity and the development of the atomic bomb. The story of a woman, her loves and her scientific curiosity.
I love it when an author truly admires her subject. Lauren Redniss has created a work of art that is also a wonderful biography of Marie and Pierre Curie, and of Marie after her husband’s death. Much of the text comes from the Curie archives, from scientific papers and from the press.
Mixed in with this biography are pieces on the impact the discovery of radioactivity has had on culture, science, medicine and politics. It is a book about what scientists thought they knew, on how that knowledge can affect society in ways that are creative and destructive. And Redniss’s art reflects this.
Colors bloom out of darkness with a strange glow. Tall ghostly figures are interspersed with maps of contaminated landscape. Redniss as created a science book unlike any I have ever read. Even if you have no love for the graphic genre I suggest you read it.