On Monday, Oct. 15, from 7-8:30pm author Laura Redniss will speak about her work, this year’s Go Big Read selection, Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout. The book imaginatively tells the story of the Curie’s love affair and their scientific discoveries. As the author notes, the Curies “expanded the periodic table, discovering two new elements with startling properties, radium and polonium. They recognized radioactivity as an atomic property, heralding the dawn of a new scientific era. They won the Nobel Prize.” The book also examines the way “Marie and Pierre’s story could illuminate questions that resonate far beyond the life of the couple.”
To research the book, Redniss traveled to Hiroshima to meet survivors of the atomic bomb, to nuclear test sites in Nevada, and to the Curie Institut in Paris where she interviewed the Curie’s granddaughter. To illustrate the story, Redness used a process called “cyanotype.” As she describes it, “Cyanotype is a camera‐less photographic technique in which paper is coated with light‐sensitive chemicals. When the chemically-treated paper is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, it turns a deep blue color. Photographic imaging was critical to both the discovery of X-rays and of radioactivity, so it made sense to me to use a process based on the idea of exposure to create the images in Radioactive.”
The presentation will take place in Varsity Hall at Union South and the event is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.