Marie Curie: A Life of Discovery

Alice Milani (Author)

Product Details

Graphic Universe (Tm)
Publish Date
August 06, 2019
7.9 X 9.9 X 0.6 inches | 1.45 pounds

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About the Author

Alice Milani is a cartoonist and an illustrator based in Bologna, Italy.


"The life of the first female Nobel Prize winner is told in flashback by her daughter Irรจne. Marie's story picks up in 1889 when she worked as a governess for a Polish family. In the wake of a failed courtship, Marie moved to Paris, near her sister and her husband, to pursue a second degree, this time in mathematics. It was through her brother-in-law that she met Pierre Curie, who became a supportive friend, mentor, colleague, and, ultimately, a beloved spouse. Together they researched the nascent field of radioactivity, earning a Nobel Prize in physics in 1903. Along with her career ambitions and success, the book addresses struggles from the Russian occupation of her native Poland and Pierre's tragic death in a carriage accident to the scandal of her close relationship with fellow scientist Paul Langevin. Though largely a straightforward biography, Italian author and illustrator Milani (co-contributor: Post Pink, 2019, etc.) does take some poetic license in the dialogue, including a dream sequence in which Marie converses with Pierre after his death. The tender, loosely impressionistic colored pencil and watercolor illustrations add liveliness and warmth to this recounting of a remarkable life. Though Curie is one of the rare women in science to be a frequent biographical subject, this graphic novelization of her life is nevertheless a worthy addition to the canon. An appealing volume for graphic novel and science enthusiasts."--Kirkus Reviews


"Italian creator Milani (cocontributor, Post Pink) offers her first English-language translation with this biography of French Polish physicist Marie Curie (1867-1934), tracing the Nobel Prize winner's life using several themes: her scientific exploration, the sexism she faced, and her Polish identity. Central to the narrative is Curie's partnership with husband and colleague Pierre Curie, as is the scandal some years after his death, when Curie became involved with a married colleague. Yet Milani most successfully conveys the professional achievements and impassioned life of an extraordinary mind while also making clear the challenges Curie overcame as a female scientist and foreigner working in France. The author's striking watercolor and pastel art employs color expressively and varying styles to enhance this affecting portrait. Milani's parents, a physicist and a mathematician, served as consultants for this work and provide an afterword about Curie's legacy. A helpful time line and bibliography round out the book. VERDICT Will appeal to curious high schoolers and adults interested in history and science, though some themes will challenge younger readers."--Library Journal


"This graphic format biography of Marie Curie, the first woman Nobelist, is told in a series of flashbacks from the point of view of one of her daughters. In 1889, Curie was working as a governess in Poland, well educated but with few options beyond marriage and frustrated with her circumstances. An invitation from her sister and brother-in-law in Paris opened up opportunities to study math and physics at the Sorbonne, where she met her future husband, Pierre Curie. Large panels filled with vivid washes of watercolor and colored pencil set the tone and mood, depicting scenes in her laboratory as well as at home and around Paris. Glimpses of Curie's thoughts, discussions with other scientists, and even the occasional diagram provide depth and scientific authenticity, conveying Curie's brilliance and why her work with radioactive materials was so important. More subtly, the author shows over time how the radioactivity affected Curie physiologically, eventually leading to her death. The story swings between her professional and personal life, including the despair she felt after her husband's death and a subsequent affair with a fellow scientist who was married. VERDICT With a complex story structure and sophisticated science content, this addition to the canon about Curie is ideal for upper middle and high schoolers."--School Library Journal


"In Milani's graphic biography of the iconic Marie Curie, soon-to-be Nobel winner Ernest Rutherford explains the theory of transmutation in less than a dozen panels to Marie Curie's 'interested in science' daughter, Irรจne--so young, she calls it 'tramputation.' That transparent accessibility repeats throughout, underscoring Milani's remarkable ability to present complex scientific concepts to layreaders with logic and clarity. When Milani isn't explaining in the text--fluidly translated from the original Italian by Schwandt--she relies on atmospheric, pencil-and-watercolor art to augment the narrative of Curie's brilliant life. From Polish governess to University of Paris (Sorbonne) graduate in physics and mathematics to unparalleled scientist and double Nobel Prizewinner (the first woman in 1903; becoming the only Nobelist in two different sciences in 1911), Curie's tenacity resulted in both worldwide achievement and personal derision, especially as a woman pioneer in a male-controlled field. (Her 'tramputation'-curious daughter, Irรจne Joliot-Curie, won her own Nobel in 1935.) Additional endmatter--a detailed contextual essay co-written by Milani's scientist parents, as well as a bibliography and source notes--enhance Milani's biography, marking it for potential classroom inclusion."--Booklist