Lauren Redniss on Marie Curie, STEM, & Women’s History

This week on The Learning Curve, Cara and Gerard mark Women’s History Month with Lauren Redniss, author of Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout, the first work of visual nonfiction to be named a finalist for the National Book Award. They explore how Redniss wove together artistic images, writing, reporting, science, and history to create a book that tells a story, while educating readers about the remarkable life of Marie Sklodowska Curie, who was the first person to win two Nobel Prizes. Redniss discusses her own education and experiences in STEM, how Curie overcame her era’s limitations on women, and what it is like for an author to see her work made into a major motion picture, Radioactive, starring Rosamund Pike. Ms. Redniss concludes the interview reading a passage from her book.

Stories of the Week

Cara pointed to a about the continuing victories for school choice around the country, and how the passage of a school reform package that could propel Arkansas to the front of the pack as a model for school choice and reform nationwide. Gerard discussed a report on ABC13 TV in Houston about the impending takeover of the Houston Independent School District by the Texas Education Agency and the historical context that makes that proposal so controversial.


Lauren Redniss is the author of several works of visual nonfiction and the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant.” Her book Thunder & Lightning: Weather Past, Present, Future won the 2016 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout was a finalist for the National Book Award, and the basis for the 2019 major motion picture, Radioactive. The New York Times called her 2020 book, Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West, “brilliant” and “virtuosic.” She has been a Guggenheim fellow, a fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars & Writers, the New America Foundation, and Artist-in-Residence at the American Museum of Natural History. She teaches at the Parsons School of Design in New York City.

Tweet of the Week

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