The Arts

Glowing Reviews


HarperCollins Publishers

This year’s Go Big Read selection illuminates Marie and Pierre Curie.

UW students won’t have to open this year’s pick for the Go Big Read program to realize they have something special in their hands, though they might need to turn out the lights. The cover of Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout by Pulitzer Prize-nominated illustrator Lauren Redniss glows in the dark.

Interim Chancellor David Ward MS’62, PhD’63 chose innovation as the theme for this year’s common-reading program. He found a perfect fit with the biography of the groundbreaking scientists: a mash-up of a love story, graphic novel, and science textbook.

The book’s pages have brilliant graphics with a luminous quality that comes from cyanotype printing, a camera-less photographic technique in which paper is coated with light-sensitive chemicals. When the chemically treated paper is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, it turns deep blue.

Redniss, who is scheduled to visit campus in October, traveled the world to research the book. She went to Hiroshima to meet with atomic bomb survivors, talked to weapons specialists at the Nevada Test Site where nearly one thousand nuclear bombs were detonated during the Cold War, and interviewed Marie and Pierre Curie’s granddaughter.

Published in the Fall 2012 issue


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