Marie Curie reamins the only woman to win two Nobel prizes - the first in 1903 for the discovery of radioactivity and the second in 1911 for the discovery of radium and polonium. Her discovery of radium opened the door to the exploration of the atom. What is even more remarkable is that the Nobel prize wasn't awarded to another woman until twenty ...
Marie Curie reamins the only woman to win two Nobel prizes - the first in 1903 for the discovery of radioactivity and the second in 1911 for the discovery of radium and polonium. Her discovery of radium opened the door to the exploration of the atom. What is even more remarkable is that the Nobel prize wasn't awarded to another woman until twenty years later, and it was Marie's daughter - Irene Joliot-Curie - who received it for discovering artificial radioactivity. In turn Irene's daughter, Helene Langevin-Joliot, helped create the first atomic pile in France. The legacy of Marie Curie, her daughter and grand-daughter makes for a fascinating story of the family who released the radioactivity that has transformed our world. Barbara Goldsmith takes these three generations and shows how their work led from a desire for the betterment of humanity through peaceful energy, medical treatments and industrial applications to the knowledge to creat the atom bomb and other weapons of mass destruction.
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I was struck by Marie Curies determination to suceed in her chosen field. And curious why when working with radio active materials she and her husband did not recognize how dangerous their work was. She was ahead of her times in her sense of self determination to overlook the "correct behavior" for women in her time.
A book worth reading if you are interested in women in Science.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-11-01 So enduring is the reputation of Marie Curie that more than 100 years after she won her first Nobel Prize, for physics in 1903 (she won a second, for chemistry, in 1911), Curie (1867-1934) is still regarded by most as the pre-eminent woman scientist of the 20th century. Goldsmith's straightforward biography illuminates both the public Curie, a tireless scientist obsessed with work, and the private one, a woman who suffered bouts of severe depression, was distant from her children and scarred deeply by the accidental death of her scientist husband, Pierre, in 1906. Using long-sealed Curie family archives, Goldsmith offers a well-rounded view of her subject that makes good dramatic use of the considerable intrigue that surrounded Curie's scientific accomplishments and her private life. Goldsmith also reminds us, without belaboring the point, that Curie overcame obstacles, including pervasive sexism within the scientific community that almost cost her the Nobel. Goldsmith is also adept at demonstrating that for Curie the nexus of public accomplishments and private happiness was tenuous. Although Curie continued working after Pierre's death, Goldsmith says she never allowed his name to be spoken: "Never again would there be a sign of joy." Goldsmith, biographer of Gloria Vanderbilt and Victoria Woodhull, is weakest at explaining the theoretical basis for Curie's scientific breakthroughs, which set the stage for the exploration of the atom. B&w illus. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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