SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING: MARIE CURIE AND RADIUM, by Carla Killough McClafferty (FSG 2006), tells the story of Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel science prize and the only person to have won in two different sciences (chemistry and physics).
SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING provides a fascinating portrait of the woman who discovered and named radium and polonium. From her roots in partitioned Poland and her clandestine efforts to obtain an education; through her study in Paris, and her scientific breakthroughs both alone and with her husband Pierre; and to her ultimate fame, Curie's life is a remarkable story of hard work, perseverance, and triumph over nearly impossible odds.
McClafferty's volume also weaves in the cultural impact of the discovery of radium: its widespread and casual uses as a medical cure-all and the subsequent realization that it is, in fact, highly toxic.
Altogether, SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING provides excellent coverage of the life and times of one of the giants of 20th century science.