Thursday, May 3, 2012

RADIOACTIVE by Lauren Redniss: University of Wisconsin, Madison's 2012-2013 Common Read!

RADIOACTIVE by Lauren Redniss
The University of Wisconsin, Madison has announced its pick for the 2012 Common Reading Program: Radioactive: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss. This highly visual book depicts the Curies’ discovery of radioactive power.

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.


Lauren Redniss, a newly named Guggenheim Fellow, walks students 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 a second Nobel Prize. 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—as well as a unique work of art.

Redniss uses stellar writing and captivating art to encapsulate the complexity of the intersections between science, history, and biography. The images throughout the book were developed using a technique called "Cyanotype." It's a smart and beautiful choice that will get students and faculty reading and talking! The best way to get a feel for this innovative work is to see it; we invite you to preview Radioactive by visiting our “browse inside.”

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

“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.”
   — Richard Rhodes, author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

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