2 Radioactive Kernels
Streaming on Amazon Prime is Radioactive, a movie about the life of Marie (Sklodowska) Curie, played by Rosamund Pike. The movie is rated on the mediocre side by most critics and has a lousy 3.2 start rating on Amazon (somewhat like some of my books).
If you don’t know who Marie Curie is, shame on you because you didn’t pay attention in your science class. You can thank her and her husband for discovering radium and polonium. She also came up with the name “radioactivity.” You can read about her life here at the Nobel Prize website.
You know, if you’re interested in a simple down-to-earth science refresh, I found this show on PBS that actually got my attention far more than the movie. Do a refresh about Radium that is found in Uranium by watching Twisting the Dragon’s Tail.
Okay, back to the movie. There are things in this movie that work and don’t work. You will find Marie Curie portrayed as a rather eccentric individual. She falls in love with another scientist, and their discoveries win the Nobel Prize. After two children and a husband who dies tragically, there are endless boring scenes of her depression and subsequent affair with a married man.
The oddity of how this movie plays out is that it juts back and forth from the timeline of Marie Currie’s life and suddenly fast forwards to the scenes of the future such as the invention of radiation therapy for cancer, the testing of the atomic bomb in the United States and the subsequent falling on Hiroshima and it’s destruction. It also flashforwards to the Chernobyl disaster.
The purpose, of course, is that Marie and Pierre realize early on that their discovery contains both good and evil. Pierre has more hope in humanity than most, hoping that only good will come from radium. However, as time goes on, people who are using the newly discovered radium for anything under the sun are becoming ill. The pointing fingers of blame start coming their way. Eventually, even Madame Curie dies of prolonged exposure to radiation. She died in 1934 of aplastic anemia.
The movie was a bit slow, dark, and uninspiring. I must be in a bad mood lately because everything I’m watching recently isn’t popping my kernels. Unless you are really curious about who Madame Curie was and her discoveries this one may put you to sleep. True scientists will probably be bored as well. Actually, the PBS documentary linked above is far more interesting and teachable.