Article ID: CBB650192289

The Pasteurization of Marie Curie: A (Meta)Biographical Experiment (2015)


Biographies of scientists occupy a liminal space, highly popular with general readers but questioned in academia. Nonetheless, in recent years, historians of science have not only embraced the genre with more enthusiasm and less guilt, they have also turned to the metabiography in order to renew the study and story of scientists’ roles. This essay focuses on Marie Curie, the world’s most famous female scientist, in order to unpack some of the theoretical and methodological claims of the science biography, and especially to address the sexing mechanisms at play in the construction of the biographical subject. Pierre Curie (1923), Marie’s biography of her husband Pierre, paid tribute to her dead husband and collaborator, but also allowed Curie a legitimate outlet to construct her own persona and legacy. Categories such as personhood, person, and persona are not only central to the biography genre but also are essential to the sense of self and self-fashioning of scientists. Looking at how Marie Curie negotiated these categories in Pierre Curie not only gives new insight into Curie’s self-fashioning strategies but may also shed some light on the more general analytical lacunae of the science biography.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Book Redniss, Lauren; (2011)
Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout (/isis/citation/CBB001252734/)

Article Gablot, Ginette; (2000)
A Parisian walk along the landmarks of the discovery of radioactivity (/isis/citation/CBB000110181/)

Article Fredrickson, Anne; (2011)
Vanity Unfair (/isis/citation/CBB001450583/)

Article Schürmann, Astrid; (2006)
Marie Curie und ihr Laboratoire: Frauenförderung avant la lettre? (/isis/citation/CBB001022228/)

Article Adloff, Jean-Pierre; Kauffman, George B.; (2006)
Pierre Curie (1859--1906): A Retrospective View on the Centenary of His Death (/isis/citation/CBB001252552/)

Book Charles River Editors; (2018)
Pierre and Marie Curie: The Lives and Careers of the Science’s Most Groundbreaking Couple (/isis/citation/CBB606297826/)

Book Roqué, Xavier; (2009)
Marie Curie. Pierre Curie (/isis/citation/CBB001032066/)

Book Brian, Denis; (2005)
The Curies: A Biography of the Most Controversial Family in Science (/isis/citation/CBB000740758/)

Essay Review Pasachoff, Naomi; (2013)
Radioactivity Redux (/isis/citation/CBB001500178/)

Essay Review Pasachoff, Naomi; (2013)
Radioactivity Redux [Review Essay Number 1500178] (/isis/citation/CBB001500179/)

Book Blanc, Karin; (2009)
Pierre Curie: Correspondances (/isis/citation/CBB001220246/)

Article Micault, Natalie Pigeard; (2013)
The Curie's Lab and Its Women (1906--1934) (/isis/citation/CBB001252177/)

Thesis Rentetzi, Maria; (2003)
Gender, Politics, and Radioactivity Research in Vienna, 1910--1938 (/isis/citation/CBB001561544/)

Book James Parry; Jeremy J. D. Greenwood; (2020)
Emma Turner: A Life Looking at Birds (/isis/citation/CBB167381701/)

Article Marco Fontani; Mary Virginia Orna; Mariagrazia Costa; Sabine Vater; (2017)
Science is Not a Totally Transparent Structure: Ştefania Mărăcineanu and the Presumed Discovery of Artificial Radioactivity (/isis/citation/CBB061937173/)

Book Eva Hemmungs Wirtén; (2015)
Making Marie Curie: Intellectual Property and Celebrity Culture in an Age of Information (/isis/citation/CBB569131771/)

Authors & Contributors
Pasachoff, Naomi
Sabine Vater
Fredrickson, Anne
Jeremy J. D. Greenwood
Eva Hemmungs Wirtén
Charles River Editors
Metascience: An International Review Journal for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science
Substantia: An International Journal of the History of Chemistry
The Chemical Educator
Science Communication
Physics in Perspective
Feministische Studien
Norfolk & Norwich Naturalists' Society
Charles River Editors
Virginia Polytechnic Institute
University of Chicago Press
Scarecrow Press
Women in science
Science and gender
Curie, Marie Sklodowska
Curie, Pierre
Curie, family
Joliot-Curie, Irène
Joliot-Curie, Frédéric
Mărăcineanu, Ştefania (1882-1944)
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
United States
South Africa
British Ornithologists' Union (BOU)
Linnean Society of London

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment