Historian Lucy Santos will discuss her new book Half Lives: The Unlikely History of Radium which tells the fascinating, curious, sometimes macabre story of radium in science and popular culture with Brandy Schillace, author of Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher: A Monkey's Head, the Pope's Neuroscientist, and the Quest to Transplant the Soul
Northshire Bookstore is pleased to welcome Lucy Jane Santos in celebration of the publication of her book Half Lives, a fascinating, curious, and sometimes macabre history of radium as seen in its uses in everyday life. Santos will discuss her book with fellow science writer Brandy Shillace, author of Mr. Humble and Dr. Butcher: A Monkey's Head, the Pope's Neuroscientist, and the Quest to Transplant the Soul
Of all the radioactive elements discovered at the end of the nineteenth century, it was radium that became the focus of both public fascination and entrepreneurial zeal.
Half Lives tells the fascinating, curious, sometimes macabre story of the element through its ascendance as a desirable item – a present for a queen, a prize in a treasure hunt, a glow-in- the-dark dance costume – to its role as a supposed cure-all in everyday twentieth-century life, when medical practitioners and business people (reputable and otherwise) devised ingenious ways of commodifying the new wonder element, and enthusiastic customers welcomed their radioactive wares into their homes.
Lucy Jane Santos—herself the proud owner of a formidable collection of radium beauty treatments—delves into the stories of these products and details the gradual downfall and discredit of the radium industry through the eyes of the people who bought, sold and eventually came to fear the once-fetishized substance.Half Lives is a new history of radium as part of a unique examination of the interplay between science and popular culture.
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