Thursday, January 27, 2011

Radioactive... a tale of love and fallout

We have received an extraordinary book; part biography, part art, part science, and full of passion and creativity.  It is a delight for the eyes and intellect - and it smells delightfully bookish, from the combination of so many colored inks and fine paper.  The cover offers an extra treat of tactile pleasure, with slightly fuzzy imprinting of images and lettering.  The content, of course, makes it truly special, giving insight into the lives of Marie and Pierre Curie, and their abiding love and shared genius in the discovery of radioactivity.  The book considers also the scientific and romantic partnership of their daughter, Irene, with Frederic Joliot, who as a team discovered that radioactivity could be "provoked rather than simply observed," and worked so closely together that they could not always say who had an idea first.  The author, Lauren Redniss, brings the reader to more contemporary issues as well, and provides copious source notes.  It is sure to be off the shelf and into a borrower's hands quickly!

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