2011 National Book Award Finalist,

Lauren Redniss

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

It Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

Lauren RednissABOUT THE BOOK

In 1891, twenty-four-year-old Marie, née Marya 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, and 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 nineteenth-century Paris.


Lauren Redniss is also the author of Century Girl: 100 Years in the Life of Doris Eaton Travis, Last Living Star of the Ziegfeld Follies (2006). 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. She teaches at Parsons the New School for Design in New York City.




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Excerpt from Radioactive by Lauren Redniss Excerpt from Radioactive by Lauren Redniss
Excerpt from Radioactive by Lauren Redniss Excerpt from Radioactive by Lauren Redniss
Excerpt from Lauren Redniss' Radioactive