The Remarkable and Little-known Curie Women
By Shelley Emling
Palgrave Macmillan, $26.00, 272 pages
For most of her daughters’ lives, Marie Curie was a single mother. Pierre Curie died in 1906 when Irene was eight and Eve two. Marie Curie and Her Daughters explores their relationship amidst the continuing work of Madame Curie, her second Nobel Prize and her ever-present passion for scientific research. Marie would not have considered herself a feminist, yet her deep conviction that women were equal to men in science showed in both her hiring of women researchers in her Radium Institute and her encouragement of Irene as she also pursued a career in science. The Curie women held several distinctions: Marie was the first woman to receive two Nobel prizes in different categories, Physics and Chemistry; Irene also received a Nobel prize in Chemistry. Eve became a war correspondent during World War II and traveled the world interviewing world leaders and witnessing events as they were happening.
“Another remark of Einstein, made just before her death and often repeated, noted that ‘Marie Curie is, of all celebrated beings, the only one whom fame has not corrupted.”
Emling sets the fascinating stories of Marie, Irene and Eve Curie into the context of events occurring in France, Europe and the United States. Her dispassionate relating of the details of their lives paints a picture of lives well-lived in service to science and the world.
Reviewed By Mary-Lynne Monroe