Radioactive!

How Irène Curie and Lise Meitner Revolutionized Science and Changed the World

By Winifred Conkling

“A thorough and engaging study of two female scientists worth their weight in radium.” —Booklist, starred review
 
In 1934, Irène Curie and her husband won the Nobel Prize for their breakthrough discovery of artificial radioactivity. But when Curie was nominated to the French Academy of Sciences, the academy denied her admission and then voted to disqualify all women from membership. Four years later, Curie’s breakthrough led physicist Lise Meitner to a brilliant leap of understanding that unlocked the secret of nuclear fission. Meitner’s unique insight was critical to a revolution in science, yet her achievement was often overlooked or even deliberately erased from the record.

In a nonfiction narrative that reads with the suspense of a thriller, Radioactive! presents the story of two women breaking ground in a male-dominated field, still largely unknown despite their crucial contributions to nuclear science.

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Winifred Conkling

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Review quotes
“With a great sense of storytelling, author Winifred Conkling introduces two physicists whose major discoveries also brought about more equality and anti-war awareness in the sciences . . . Radioactive! addresses serious topics like the advent of chemical and atomic warfare and the Nazi rise to power, and leaves biography buffs wanting to know more in the best way.” —BUST Magazine

“A thorough and engaging study of two female scientists worth their weight in radium.”—Booklist, starred review

“Luminous and fascinating, [Radioactive!] recounts the lives and amazing findings of chemist (and daughter of [Marie] Curie) Irène Joliot-Curie, codiscoverer of artificial radiation, and physicist Lise Meitner, codiscoverer of nuclear fission. This title would make a lovely companion to Steve Sheinkin’s Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon."School Library Journal

“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...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.” —Publishers Weekly
Product Details
Age range
10 - 14
Grade range
5 - 9
Categories
Number of pages
240
Publication date
February 20, 2018
ISBN
9781616206413