Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science’s First Family

Shelley Emling, Author
Shelley Emling. Palgrave Macmillan, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-0-230-11571-2
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-137-10261-4
Paperback - 219 pages - 978-1-137-27836-4
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Science writer Emling (The Fossil Hunter) reveals a hidden side of the life of two-time Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie, co-discoverer of radioactivity and the first to use it as an experimental treatment for cancer. Her plainly told tale relates Curie’s struggles to balance her passion for discovery and arduous work as a scientist after her husband and collaborator Pierre’s death with the equally challenging task of raising two daughters. Drawing on newly available letters between Marie and her daughters, and extensive interviews with Marie’s granddaughter, Hélène Langevin-Joliot, Emling shows Marie as a loving if often absent mother who encouraged her daughters to pursue their own ideas and passions. Her older daughter, Irene, won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1935 for her work with her husband, Frédéric, in developing synthetic radioactivity; Marie’s younger daughter, Eve, had a flourishing career as an international journalist and humanitarian who in later life worked with UNICEF. In this admiring family tale, Emling also reveals for the first time the key role American journalist Missy Meloney played in first bringing Marie Curie on her first trip to America, where she was received by adoring crowds, and then helping spearhead campaigns to raise much needed money to support Marie’s work. Photos. Agent: Agnes Birnbaum, Bleecker Street Associates. (Aug.)
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