Monday, 26 May 2014

Book Review: The Age of Radiance

Lise Meitner, head of her own physics department, might have been the Marie Curie of Germany, had they not passed the Law for the Restoration of the Career Civil Service in 1933. Scholars, scientists, and many (25%) of Germany's physicists were exiled. WWII was quite influential on hastening the exit of Jewish scientists from Germany. This plays a big part in the history of the Atomic Era. While the biographies of these scientists may tear at you heart, the book is excellent. 
This book is about the rise and fall of the Atomic Era, by New York Times author Craig Nelson. It covers the development of x-rays, work by *Marie Curie, Hiroshima, Mutual Assured Destruction, The Manhattan Project, Dr. Strangelove, the Nevada Test Site, and the 2011 meltdown in Japan.

The book is excellent, as it covers some of the women, the early pioneers in this scientific field who had to fight to get an education.
A top student in her secondary school, Marie Curie could not attend the men-only University of Warsaw. She continued her education in Warsaw's "floating university," a set of underground, informal classes held in secret.

helviofaria-2-lo-300x251It is a well-researched book, with an extensive bibliography, and it is quite a good read. I am amazed at the side effects experienced by those who chose to work with these frightening experiments. There are many fascinating stories of accidental discoveries. Also, how many scientists died of radiation poisoning until they figured out the properties of radiation.

I must admit to being a little bit behind in my review. I was sent the book this past Fall. Hubby's surgery, a death in the family, then a wedding, all confounded me. I needed lighter reading fare. I am glad that I hung in, though. I think this is an important part of history. There are lessons to be learned from previous wars, as well as the weapons of war. Humankind makes many mistakes. I only hope that future generations will learn.

*Marie Curie - Mini Biography (tv-pg) Marie Curie's work on radioactivity made her the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. Curie's efforts led to the discovery of polonium and radium and the development of X-rays.

Paramedics treat 11 students after science experiment gone wrong

March, 2014 – A group of young scientists mixed up a bad chemical reaction Wednesday afternoon sending the lot of them to the hospital after producing hazardous material. Paramedics responded to a call at the Higher Learning Institute, a tutoring centre, at 3047 Carling Ave. at 12:17 p.m. Wednesday. Responders found a teacher and three students inside a lab class. There were mixing potassium permanganate with hydrochloric acid — a routine lab reaction that should produce chlorine.

1 comment:

William Kendall said...

Thanks for pointing it out. I'll have to check it out.