Obsessive Genius (Goldsmith)

Obsessive Genius: The Inner World of Marie Curie
Barbara Goldsmith, 2004
W.W. Norton
320 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780393327489

The myth of Marie Curie—the penniless Polish immigrant who through genius and obsessive persistence endured years of toil and deprivation to produce radium, a luminous panacea for all the world's ills, including cancer—has obscured the remarkable truth behind her discoveries.

Madame Curie's shrewd but controversial insight was that radioactivity was an atomic property that could be used to discover new elements. While her work won her two Nobel prizes and transformed our world, it did not liberate her from the prejudices of either the male-dominated scientific community or society.

In Obsessive Genius, the acclaimed author and historian Barbara Goldsmith has discovered the woman behind the icon we have come to believe in—an all too human woman trying to balance a spectacular scientific career with the obligations of family, the prejudice of society, the constant search for adequate funding, and the battle for recognition.

Using original research (diaries, letters, and family interviews) to peel away the layers of myth, Goldsmith offers a dazzling portrait of Marie Curie, her amazing discoveries, and the immense price she paid for fame. (Hardcover inside flap.)

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