11 Books You Never Thought You'd Read (but Will Fall in Love with Instantly)
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Though National Book Award nominee Radioactive is ostensibly a biography of Madame Curie, its real allure is romance. Twenty-four-year-old Marie Sklodowska travels to Paris from Warsaw and finds work in the laboratory of Pierre Curie, studying the relationship between heat and magnetism. The attraction is not just between molecules, however, and soon the scientists fall in love and marry. They go on, of course, to make incredible leaps and bounds in the world of science, discovering the elements polonium and radium. In this poignant tale of discovery and passion, Lauren Redniss also examines the greater question of nuclear proliferation through the lens of the couple's work, proving that their research is more than relevant today. A collage of different media, the artwork in the book includes drawings, as well as an electric blue background wash created by a process called cyanotype printing, in which light-sensitive chemicals soaked into paper become intensely bright when subjected to UV rays from the sun. Redniss feels the technique "captured on the page what Marie Curie called radium's 'spontaneous luminosity.'"