Marie Curie and Her Contemporaries

Marie Curie: A Life.Françoise Giroud. Translated by Lydia Davis. Holmes & Meier, New York, 1986. 287 pp. $34.50. This book—an English translation of a version written by Françoise Giroud, a columnist for Le Nouvel Observateur—provides interesting and illuminating insights into the lives and work of Marie Curie, her husband Pierre and their scientific friends and contemporaries. For this reason alone it is to be highly commended. It is of great interest to read between the

Wilfrid Mann
May 3, 1987
Marie Curie: A Life.Françoise Giroud. Translated by Lydia Davis. Holmes & Meier, New York, 1986. 287 pp. $34.50.


This book—an English translation of a version written by Françoise Giroud, a columnist for Le Nouvel Observateur—provides interesting and illuminating insights into the lives and work of Marie Curie, her husband Pierre and their scientific friends and contemporaries. For this reason alone it is to be highly commended.

It is of great interest to read between the lines of history-making science. We learn, for example, that "only the great [Ernest] Rutherford knew how to deal with Marie, because he was not awed by her— he liked her." He also is quoted as saying "Madame Curie is a hard person to handle. She has at once the advantage and inconvenience of being a woman."

The book also raises interesting questions. It states, for example, that "Rutherford was a first-rate scientist. So...