With an introduction by Marie Curie’s granddaughter, nuclear physicist Dr. Hélène Langevin-Joliot, who reveals a host of interesting and hitherto unknown stories about her famous family (winners of five Nobel Prizes), this unique popular science book dispels many unfounded fears and provides a wealth of valuable information.
As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Marie Curie’s first Nobel Prize, awarded to her and her husband, Pierre, for their monumental discovery of radioactivity, it is an ideal time to reflect on the countless ways that their astounding work has so marvelously enriched our daily lives. Despite public fears of the potentially harmful effects of radiation from nuclear waste, we in fact rely on its many beneficial uses everyday for fresh food preservation, fighting terrorism, stopping crime, cancer detection and treatment, spacecraft power, and numerous other life-enhancing applications.
In this lucid overview of radiation’s many great benefits and ongoing potential, Dr. Alan E. Waltar, past president of the American Nuclear Society, explains how this important energy source has been harnessed to serve a plethora of humanitarian tasks. Through artful use of vivid anecdotes that give vibrancy to technical explanations, Waltar provides numerous examples of radiation’s many uses in agriculture, medicine, electricity generation, modern industry, transportation, public safety, environmental protection, space exploration, and even archeology and the arts. Estimating the total financial contribution of all these varied uses, Waltar comes to the startling revelation that radiation technology now contributes more than $420 billion to the U.S. economy and over 4.4 million jobs. In only one century, Marie Curie’s discoveries have provided an infrastructure larger than the entire U.S. airline industry.
In the future Dr. Waltar foresees continuous improvement in many areas of science, industry, and medicine through tapping the incredible potential of Marie Curie’s initial insights. At a time when our dependency on foreign oil makes us vulnerable and when we know that our fossil fuel resources will soon be used up, we need to understand radiation more than ever. This superb book will provide that necessary insight.