Sunday, December 22, 2019

The Half-Life of Marie Curie, by Lauren Gunderson (author), Kate Mulgrew (narrator), Francesca Faridany (narrator)

Audible Audio, December 2019

Marie Curie was a scientist of tremendous accomplishments at a time when it was much harder than now for women to have careers in science at all. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and the person, and one of only two to this point, to win two Nobels in different scientific fields. Her 1903 Nobel, with her husband Pierre, and Henri Becquerel, was in physics. Pierre Curie died in a road accident in 1906, and Marie Curie continued her research alone. In 1911, she won a second Nobel, in chemistry. That happened in the midst of a huge scandal over her affair with Paul Langevin, a married man estranged from his wife.

She stayed out of the public eye for most of that year, except for going to Sweden to accept her second Nobel Prize. However she did spend time in England with a friend, the mathematician, physicist, inventor, and suffragist, Hertha Ayrton. This audio play is about that visit, their friendship, and the friendship of two strong, intelligent, women who pursued careers in science at a time when women in most of what we would consider advanced countries couldn't even vote, and certainly weren't expected to pursue careers relying on intellectual ability.

It's fascinating look at the two women, presented entirely in the voices of two actors, Francesca Faridany and Kate Mulgrew, playing the two scientists. We get a sense of their lives, their personalities, their accomplishments, and the challenges of pursuing their careers and getting proper recognition for their work. I very much enjoyed listening to this.


I got this as part of the Audible Original program and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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