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

Lauren Redniss

Linda Hall Library

Thursday, February 2, 2023 5:30 pm EST

Linda Hall Library
5109 Cherry Street
Kansas City, MO 64110

Register Here.
Presented in association with the National WWI Museum and Memorial.
In 1891, 24-year-old Marie Sklodowska moved from Warsaw to Paris, where she found work in the laboratory of Pierre Curie, a scientist engaged in research on heat and magnetism. They fell in love. They took their honeymoon on bicycles. They 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. Newspapers mythologized the couple's romance, beginning articles on the Curies with "Once upon a time . . . " Then, in 1906, Pierre was killed in a freak accident. Marie continued their work alone. She won a second Nobel Prize in 1911, and fell in love again, this time with the married physicist Paul Langevin. Scandal ensued. Duels were fought.
In the century since the Curies began their work, we've struggled with nuclear weapons proliferation, debated the role of radiation in medical treatment, and pondered nuclear energy as a solution to climate change. In Radioactive, Lauren Redniss links these contentious questions to a love story in 19th Century Paris.
Radioactive draws on Redniss's original reporting in Asia, Europe, and the United States, her interviews with scientists, engineers, weapons specialists, atomic bomb survivors, and Marie and Pierre Curie's own granddaughter.
The Speaker
Critically acclaimed writer and artist Lauren Redniss is one of the most innovative literary talents of our time. The author of three acclaimed books, including National Book Award finalist Radioactive, Redniss's marriage of journalism, history, science, and visual arts has "expanded the realm of non-fiction."
Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; the lecture begins at 6:30 p.m.
The main entrance to the Library grounds is on Cherry Street. Parking is free in Library parking lots and along the west side of Holmes Street between 51st and 52nd streets. The Linda Hall Library is not affiliated with UMKC. Parking in all UMKC lots is by permit or meter. 
This program will be presented in-person at the Linda Hall Library. If you'd prefer to watch this program virtually, please follow this link to register: