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Radioactive , a new biopic of Marie Curie, weaves together her personal story, her discoveries and the repercussions of her research into radioactivity. Marjane Satrapi. Films about scientists help to humanize figures sometimes seen as distant, and provide the public with insights into the process and excitement of discovery.

Marie Curie takes to the screen

Radioactive , a new biopic of Marie Curie, weaves together her personal story, her discoveries and the repercussions of her research into radioactivity. Marjane Satrapi. Films about scientists help to humanize figures sometimes seen as distant, and provide the public with insights into the process and excitement of discovery. At a time when experts and science are often questioned, such films remind viewers of the importance of research, replacing suspicion with curiosity. Radioactive , a new biopic of Marie Curie, manages to do just the opposite.

The release in cinemas, scheduled for March , had to be cancelled owing to the coronavirus pandemic, but the film will be available on Amazon Prime from June 15 and on DVD from July The story starts in , with Marie being rushed to hospital.

As her last moments approach, we are taken to flashbacks from her past. Her mind goes back to her first encounter with Pierre Curie, her future collaborator, husband and co-winner of the Nobel Prize, and their first years together at the end of the s. Therefore, it must contain at least one other, even more radioactive, element. Crushing the ore, boiling it and removing all known elements: it is by this physically demanding and time-consuming process that the Curies isolated the new elements.

In the early s, the discovery that radioactivity could shrink tumours caused a wave of optimism. The realization that it could also cause tumours was still to come. At this point in the story, we are taken to the first flash-forward of the film: in , a boy with cancer is treated with radiation in Cleveland, OH, USA.

The nominating committee had initially considered only Pierre and Becquerel, but when Pierre caught wind of this he insisted Marie was included. In the film, he is portrayed going to Stockholm alone and coming back to a bitter row because Marie felt that Pierre alone was getting recognition. In reality, neither of them went to Stockholm in on account of their teaching obligations. They went two years later, together. Later on we get a glimpse of an atomic village in Nevada full of plastic people melting away in an atomic test in Towards the end of the film, images from Chernobyl fill the screen.

Implying that Marie and Pierre Curie are somehow responsible for later atomic disasters is, in my opinion, shameful. Pierre tragically died in in an accident.

A couple of years later Marie fell in love with a married former collaborator, Paul Langevin. As newspapers got hold of the story, a media storm was unleashed, with the scandal intertwined with xenophobia she was Polish and rumours that she was Jewish.

The turmoil almost put off the Nobel committee from awarding her a second prize, this time for Chemistry, which she received in They suggested she should not go to Stockholm until things settled. With characteristic fierceness, she refused to have judgment of her scientific work mixed up with her private life and went anyway.

During World War I, it was Marie who pushed for the establishment of mobile X-ray machines that could be taken to the battlefield.

In the last scenes of the film, as she is dying, Marie sees the future victims of radioactivity lying in their hospital beds. In the closing remarks, the beneficial applications of radioactivity are highlighted, and the film ends on the picture of the Solvay conference, in which finally we see Marie surrounded by scientists who are not Pierre Curie or Paul Langevin, revealing she was not the isolated character the film suggests, but an active member of the scientific community of her time.

What the film lacks, I find, is context. Her prior studies in a clandestine university in Poland, where women had no official access to higher education, and her years working as a governess to support her studies in France would have also been worth a mention. Not all stories need to start from the beginning, but if this story wants to go beyond a love story — which it must — it should acknowledge that there was a Marie before she became a Curie. Her perseverance in pursuing her research is the main reason why Marie Curie is an icon, and the discovery of the new elements is a fascinating story in its own right.

The choice of electronic music for the soundtrack is fitting in that their research on radioactivity was ahead of their time. The insertion of nightmarish scenes depicting nuclear disasters does not make the film a history of radioactivity.

Satrapi said that giving this impression was not the intention, but she felt as though Marie must have had inklings of the things that would come. Even the most brilliant mind could not have foreseen that. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Nat Rev Mater. Reviewed by Giulia Pacchioni. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Giulia Pacchioni, Email: moc. Corresponding author.

This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted research re-use and secondary analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. Abstract Radioactive , a new biopic of Marie Curie, weaves together her personal story, her discoveries and the repercussions of her research into radioactivity.

Subject terms: History, Culture, History of chemistry, Science, technology and society. Support Center Support Center. External link. Please review our privacy policy.

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Audible Premium Plus. Cancel anytime. One of the most famous women of the 20th century, Marie Curie was a trailblazer in the truest sense. Known for her discovery of two radioactive elements, radium and polonium, Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. She remains the only woman to win two Nobel Prizes in different sciences.

Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout

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Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout

However, this romanticized and even eroticized view of the subject shifts as the graphic biography of Marie Curie transforms into the graphic biography of her primary discovery, the element radium, and the later twentieth century tragedies of atomic warfare and nuclear fallout. The article concludes that Radioactive is an experiment in graphic biography that highlights how the border between the seen and the unseen cuts across atomic science, biographical narrative, and visual storytelling. Rifkind C. Marie Curie has been depicted in comics for nearly a century as a complex icon of the brilliant female scientist whose passion for her dangerous research ultimately destroys her. In so doing, Redniss draws Curie at the centre of an ever-expanding web of social relations during and after her life, and across time and space.

Thank you for visiting nature. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer. In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript. The story of radioactivity, one of the most exciting discoveries of the past or so years, is brightly visualized through Redniss's imagination in her illustrated book.

Radioactive is the mesmerizing, landmark biography of Marie Curie, by acclaimed author and artist Lauren Redniss. A haunting and wondrous portrait of one of history's most intriguing figures, Radioactive is a stunning biography and a true work of art. National Book Award finalist "Vivid and ethereal.

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