Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize for both chemistry and physics. That is all I knew before I read this book. I am not a good science student. Shelley Emling succeeds in making scientific discovery interesting to read. I learned about the benefits and dangers of radium. Radium and simple Xray technology have used to treat cancer for almost a hundred years. Marie Curie's passion for the development of radium and the treatment of cancer is a strong theme in this book. Radium is also highly radioactive. Long term exposure to radium can cause health problems like hearing loss, low blood pressure and vision problems. I did not know how much effort went into mining for radium. I learned that one ounce of radium cost $50,000 in 1921. Radium could also be found in products like cigarettes and chocolate. There are numerous schools and treatment centers in France, Poland and New York that bear Marie Curie's name. I also learned that Marie Curie enjoyed reading poetry. Emiling cites a poem entitled "To The Young" by Adam Asnyk. This is a very inspirational poem about the hunger and quest to keep learning. I like this poem very much.
I did not know that Marie had two daughters.They were successful in their respective careers as well. This is because of Marie's support and encouragement. Irene, her eldest daughter, developed an injection that is now used to treat leukemia.. Irene also discovered artificial radioactivity. Her work has helped doctors locate the flow of blood and nutrients into different organs in the body. Marie also had another daughter named Eve. She wrote a biography of her mother that became an Academy nominated film in 1943. Eve is also credited as being the first lady of United Nations Children's Fund or UNICEF. She helped feed and educate millions of poor children all over the world. Eve also published a book of her war reports entitled Journey Among Warriors. This book chronicled her travels to places like Africa, Asia and Russia. I am amazed by the achievements of Marie, Irene and Eve Curie. This book makes me want to learn more about science and make a difference in the world.