Marie Curie: A Brilliant Life


32 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Index
ISBN 1-55337-571-8
DDC j540'.92





Reviewed by Alice Kidd

Alice Kidd is an editor with The New Catalyst editorial collective in
Lillooet, B.C.


Marie Curie (1867–1934) was an extraordinary individual, and a
valuable role model for young women in all aspects of her life. She was
a loving daughter, sister, wife, and mother; a celebrated scientist who
was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 (which she shared with
her husband and Henri Becquerel) and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in
1911 (in recognition of her work in radioactivity); a caring
humanitarian; and a member of the Committee of Intellectual Co-operation
of the League of Nations.

MacLeod’s Marie Curie is a fine biography that recounts a life full
of accomplishment, but not without pain. The book’s attractive format
draws readers in. Each of the 13 chapters presents an aspect of
Curie’s life in a two-page spread with the majority of text on the
left, faced by a collage of photos, sketches, posters, and
documents—introduced by a cartoon image of Marie herself—on the
right. We see examples of her research notes and calculations, her
scientific papers, a commemorative stamp, and even a postcard. The
“clutter” of a scientific life enhances the storyline.

Particularly interesting is MacLeod’s account of Curie’s remedial
activities. During World War I, Curie not only actively promoted the use
of radium to alleviate suffering, she and her daughter, Irene, operated
an X-ray machine on the front lines.

The book includes a timeline (“Marie’s Life at a Glance”), some
suggestions for museum visits, and a detailed index. Some Internet links
and citations of print resources with information on Marie Curie would
have been useful. Recommended.


MacLeod, Elizabeth., “Marie Curie: A Brilliant Life,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 12, 2024,