Something Out of Nothing
Marie Curie and Radium
By Carla Killough McClafferty
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Hardcover, 9780374380366, 144pp.)
Publication Date: March 21, 2006
List Price: $18.99*
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Marie Curie's story has fascinated and inspired young readers
decades. The poor Polish girl who worked eight years to be able
to afford to attend the Sorbonne in Paris became one of the
most important scientists of her day, winning not one but two
Nobel Prizes. Her life is a fascinating one, filled with hard work,
humanitarianism, and tragedy. Her work with her husband,
Pierre - the study of radioactivity and the discovery of the
elements radium and polonium - changed science forever. But
she is less well known for her selfless efforts during World War
to establish mobile X-ray units so that wounded French soldiers
could get better care faster. When she stood to profit greatly
from her scientific work, she chose not to, making her methods
and findings known and available to all of science. As a result,
this famous woman spent most of her life in need of money,
often to buy the very elements she discovered.
Marie Curie's life and work are given a fresh telling, one that
also explores the larger picture of the effects of radium in world
culture, and its exploitation and sad misuse.
CARLA KILLOUGH MCCLAFFERTY is also the author of The
Head Bone's Connected to the Neck Bone: The Weird, Wacky, and
Wonderful X-Ray, an NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade
Book for Children. She lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas.