In many ways, Marie Curie represents modern science. Her considerable lifetime achievements the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize, the only woman to be awarded the Prize in two fields, and the only person to be awarded Nobel Prizes in multiple sciences are studied by schoolchildren across the world. When, in 2009, the New Scientist carried out a poll for the Most Inspirational Female Scientist of All Time, the result was a foregone conclusion: Marie Curie trounced her closest runner-up, Rosalind Franklin, winning double the number of Franklin's votes. She is a role model to women embarking on a career in science, the pride of two nations Poland and France and, not least of all, a European Union brand for excellence in science. Making Marie Curie explores what went into the creation of this icon of science. It is not a traditional biography, or one that attempts to uncover the real Marie Curie.
Rather, Eva Hemmungs Wirten, by tracing a career that spans two centuries and a world war, provides an innovative and historically grounded account of how modern science emerges in tandem with celebrity culture under the influence of intellectual property in a dawning age of information. She explores the emergence of the Curie persona, the information culture of the period that shaped its development, and the strategies Curie used to manage and exploit her intellectual property. How did one create and maintain for oneself the persona of scientist at the beginning of the twentieth century? What special conditions bore upon scientific women, and on married women in particular? How was French identity claimed, established, and subverted? How, and with what consequences, was a scientific reputation secured? In its exploration of these questions and many more, Making Marie Curie provides a composite picture not only of the making of Marie Curie, but the making of modern science itself.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 248
Weight: 272 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 12 mm
"In Making Marie Curie, Eva Hemmungs Wirten shows how biographers and polularizers, including Curie herself, fashioned the woman born Marya Sklodowska in 1867 into an enduring scientific persona. . . . If the legend of Marie Curie represents the aspirations of modern science, Making Marie Curie shows how a diverse range of people, from biographers to philanthropists to Curie herself, created these aspirations in the first place."--Evan Hepler-Smith "Wall Street Journal "
"Making Marie Curie offers insight into how Curie herself took charge of her intellectual property, including her own persona--both shaping and reflecting a rapidly changing world, in which a new capacity for celebrity raised fresh challenges about the management of information. It is the interweaving of the persona Curie cultivated, together with the conscious role she played on the international stage through her participation in the International Commission, Wirten argues, that established Curie's prominence in the historical record of twentieth-century science. This account offers a fresh perspective on Curie's strength as an institution builder, a networked collaborator, and a woman quite aware and protective of her own intellectual property. In sum, her intellectual achievements and career contributions together offer a profile that indeed justifies thinking of the early twentieth century as the Age of Curie."--Sally Gregory Kohlstedt "Women's Review of Books "