Radioactive! : How Irène Curie and Lise Meitner Revolutionized Science and Changed the World
Booklist Reviews 2015 December #1
*Starred Review* This joint biography examines two important female scientists who have been largely overlooked by history, highlighting their accomplishments and contributions to the advancement of nuclear science. The name Irène Curie doesn't ring as many bells as that of her parents, Marie and Pierre Curie, though she won the 1935 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with her husband, Frédérick Joliot. Conkling (Passenger on the Pearl, 2015) describes Irène's childhood and the Joliot-Curies' discovery of artificial radioactivity, which ushered in the era of nuclear science. Also at work during the 1930s' golden age of physics was Lise Meitner, who fought for her education and career as a physicist, which was challenged because she was a woman and a Jew working in Nazi Germany. In 1938, Meitner discovered nuclear fission, but her research partner unsportingly took the credit. Though Conkling's succinct scientific explanations could have been expanded for clarity, she does an excellent job of describing this historic period and the impact of scientific discoveries made at the time, including the use of X-rays by medics in WWI, the dangers of radiation poison, and the invention of the nuclear bomb during WWII. Black-and-white period photos, scientific asides and diagrams, and a time line enhance the well-cited text. A thorough and engaging study of two female scientists worth their weight in radium. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2016 Fall
Conkling's biography delves into the separate but ever-so-slightly-overlapping lives of Irhne Curie, daughter of Marie and Nobel Prizewinning French physicist who co-discovered artificial radioactivity; and Austrian physicist Lise Meitner, who co-discovered nuclear fission. The majority of the book details the pioneering women's accomplishments and their lasting impact on the commercial, military, and scientific realms. Informative sidebars and captioned photographs are included throughout. Timeline, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2016 #2
onkling's biography takes an unusual approach, delving into the separate but ever-so-slightly-overlapping lives of Irene Curie, the Nobel Prize–winning French physicist who co-discovered artificial radioactivity, and Austrian physicist Lise Meitner, who co-discovered nuclear fission. Although the two women hardly came in contact with each other -- and when they did they frequently disagreed -- they had much in common: both were pioneers in their fields, yet remained underappreciated in the larger cultural narrative of scientific endeavors. Both faced immense prejudice within the scientific community, and Meitner doubly so for her Jewish heritage while living in Nazi Germany. Both "saw science as a tool to improve society and enhance the lives of the next generation"; they were horrified that their discoveries were used to create atomic weapons during World War II. Conkling details the women's personal and professional lives from their childhoods to their deaths at ages fifty-eight and eighty-nine, respectively, spending the majority of the book detailing their accomplishments and their lasting impact on the commercial, military, and scientific realms. Informative sidebars provide useful overviews of related science, but their placement is sometimes disruptive; captioned photographs are included throughout, and back matter includes a timeline, a glossary, a "who's who," chapter notes, and a bibliography. kazia berkley-cramer