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Lauren Redniss

Lauren Redniss is the author of Century Girl: 100 Years in the Life of Doris Eaton Travis, Last Living Star of the Ziegfeld Follies. She is a frequent contributor to the Op-Ed page of the New York Times, which nominated her work for the Pulitzer Prize.


"Radioactive is serious science and brisk storytelling. The word ‘luminous’ is a critic’s cliché, to be avoided at all costs, but it fits.”

– New York Times

“One of the most beautiful books-as-object that I’ve ever seen.”

– Elizabeth Gilbert

“[A] sumptuously illustrated visual biography….Radioactive is an incisive look at science’s greatest partnership.”

– Vogue



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

6 Reasons to Love Lauren Redniss’s "Radioactive"


6. The story opens with a note from Redniss: “With apologies to Marie Curie who said, ‘There is no connection between my scientific work and the facts of private life.’” You know you’re going to get something juicy!

5. The cover is glow in the dark.

4. It is a biography without the flat language of restating researched facts. Redniss writes a holistic, yet interpretive, portrayal of Marie Curie, her contemporaries, and her place in history and the future. She also reveals a complex understanding of other scientific facts and Curie’s life as a student, scientist, lover, mother, icon, and ultimately dying woman. She frames Curie’s ripple effects throughout the nuclear sciences by intersecting multiple art and academic forms.

3. It is a comic book, no. A graphic novel, no. A lyric essay. not quite. Weird poetry? nope. An illuminated text, still, not really. A contemplation on remembrance — too new-agey. It is an awesome, heavy text.

2. “Poetry and politics both have to do with description and with power. And so, of course, does science. We might hope to find the three activities — poetry, science, politics — triangular, with extraordinary electrical exchanges moving from each to each and through our lives,” Adrienne Rich Furthering the concept of a biography, “Radioactive” is a narrative branch of creative writing, found text, research, pop culture, and collage. Pulling archival photos and letters, Redniss also integrates her own artwork and considers a future on the moon where bricks are made out of glass and lunar dust makes glass through nuclear proposal.

1. Marie Curie was a badass, and deserves this proper recognition. You might think you know the Curies, but you’ll soon find out way more and begin registering their still radiating influence on our contemporary lives…

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