Marie Curie: A Life by Susan Quinn
(Simon & Schuster, 1995, 509 pages)
My library’s Women’s History Month display prompted me to check out this biography of Marie Curie. I read a few biographies of Marie Curie in the past. Of all of them I found this one to be the most satisfying.
Marie Curie is the only woman to ever win the Nobel Prize twice, each time in a different discipline. I’m glad the book does not dwell too much on Curie’s well-known scientific accomplishments. It portrays Curie as an ordinary individual who overcame many obstacles. The book takes readers back to Marie’s native country, Poland (occupied by Russia at the time), details how she met her future husband and partner, Pierre Curie, in Paris, addresses her struggle to raise two daughters as a single parent, and discusses the scandal that almost ruined her career. This book presents a less glamorous scientist, focusing instead on a compassionate human being, daughter, sister, friend, wife, lover and mother.
I’m also very impressed with the author’s extensive research for this book. I highly recommend Marie Curie: A Life if you like biographies or are a fan of the history of science and scientific discoveries at the turn of the 20th century.