Marie Curie and Her Daughters


Marie Curie’s early years in Russian- powered Poland were difficult, despite the determination and care of her father. Both he and Marie’s mother, were determined that their four children should be educated, and that they accessed a full, inspiring curriculum. However, conventions decreed that university education was not for girls and then that a full Polish curriculum should be banned.

It was a pact between Marie and her sister Bronya that they might each support they other’s further education, in Paris, that kickstarted Marie’s career. Marie gained Masters’ degrees achieved within three years in each Maths and Physics. Furthermore, these were in French, a foreign language, achieved as she lived in bitter poverty,  without heating, water and only one dress.

Yet Marie’s constant determination saw her win occupancy of a small desk in the laboratory of scientist Pierre Curie. Thereafter, after their marriage and the birth of their daughters, their research into nuclear elements changed every part of human life- from medicine to history, weaponry to power.

Marie’s daughters’ stories are fascinating also. Were they as inspired by science as their parents? Thereafter, what are their legacies?

Sisters, Imogen and Isabel Greenberg have created a thoroughly researched, fluent and captivating biography with Marie Curie and Her Daughters. Bookwagon recommends this historical, scientific biography highly. It is a really interesting, necessary book.

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Marie Curie and Her Daughters

A story of strength, science and sisterhood

Imogen and Isabel Greenberg

(Bloomsbury)– hardback

It might be that you think of Marie and/ or Pierre Curie when you’re near an x-ray department, or on World Cancer Day (February 4th). You may know Marie Curie as the scientist who discovered polonium, named for her native Poland, and radium, for the rays this element exhibits. Thereafter, you might know that she was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Science. Furthermore, you may know that her research cost her her life…
Yet Imogen and Isabel Greenberg offer so much more in this outstanding biography. It seems that Marie Curie’s life was one of extreme dedication, curiosity and sacrifice. She was raised largely by her teacher father, within a family of four children. Like her older sister Bronya, she was intelligent and inspired by sciences. Yet her country, Poland, was under the rule of Russia which ‘denied children learning in their own language, or learning their own history’. Furthermore, there was no admission for girls to the University of Warsaw.
The secret Flying University, nurtured the learning seeds in the family, and thereafter developed the determination that the sisters had to learn further. What they each achieved is remarkable, but how they worked to achieve, and the drive that continued throughout their lifetimes, is astounding. Furthermore, Marie’s inspiration continued and extended to her own daughters, Irène and Eve, whose stories are critical to this pictorial biography.
Bookwagon was riveted by Marie Curie and Her Daughters. Furthermore, we felt the need to discuss what we’d read and learned. This story is more than that of a trailblazing scientist, for it involves world politics, equality, discovery, science and opportunity.



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