Radioactive! How Irene Curie and Lise Meitner Revolutionized Science and Changed the World

Winifred Conkling. Algonquin Young Readers, $17.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-61620-415-0
In this thorough and clear dual biography, Conkling (Passenger on the Pearl) profiles two 20th-century scientists whose contributions facilitated the creation of the atomic bomb—to their horror. Though Lise Meitner (1878–1968) and Irène Curie (1897–1956) shared an idealistic and passionate devotion to physics, they were often rivals and never worked collaboratively. Austrian-born Meitner, highly regarded throughout the 1930s for her meticulous experiment designs, outright disputed early results presented by Curie, daughter of Pierre and Marie Curie, and her husband; her dismissal allowed the Curies to create the first manmade radioactive elements themselves, leading to a shared Nobel Prize in 1935. Only three years later, Meitner's explanation of nuclear fission set the stage for the atomic age. Both highly educated women struggled against chauvinist attitudes: Curie's efforts to join the French Academy of Science were repeatedly turned down, while Meitner never received a Nobel Prize despite 15 nominations. Conkling successfully redresses that lack of recognition here. A glossary, time line, and extensive "Who's Who" section provide additional context, along with explanatory sidebars and b&w photos. Ages 10–14. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/14/2015
Release date: 01/01/2016
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 176 pages - 978-1-61620-555-3
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-61620-641-3
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