Veglahn's crudely fictionalized biography concentrates on the Curies' hard work and failing health and shows Marie talking...

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THE MYSTERIOUS RAY: Marie Curie's Worm

Veglahn's crudely fictionalized biography concentrates on the Curies' hard work and failing health and shows Marie talking to her baby, eavesdropping at a sidewalk cafe, and above all exchanging solicitous inquiries with her increasingly tired Pierre. Much is made of their years of labor separating a thimbleful of radium from truckloads of pitchblende, and an epilogue explains that it was no doubt the radiation that made both of them sick. As for the work itself, however, Veglahn seems all but indifferent. Explanations of procedures and their purposes are cursory at best, with technical words defined parenthetically, and the scientific context of the Curies' discovery is similarly relegated to asides or appendices. Mendeleen's Table of Elements is mentioned early on and Veglahn appends a reproduction of the completed periodic table with a small-print ""simplified explanation""; the same epilogue that announces the Nobel prizes and diagnoses the radiation sickness notes only very generally that the Curies' observations ""laid the foundation for modern nuclear physics and chemistry""; and that's about it. And the bland portrait of Marie Curie as a person is as artificial as the coverage of her work is superficial.

Pub Date: Dec. 27, 1978

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1978