• The Good: Inspiring story of friendship between scientists Curie and Ayrton
  • The Bad: Focuses on their personal lives more than their professional accomplishments
  • The Literary: Superb audio performances, with foley and stage sounds

During the time she received her second Nobel Prize, Marie Curie escaped France to the south of England after her affair with Paul Langevin threatened her entire career. (She was widowed; Langevin was separated from his wife at the time). Curie’s close friend Hertha Ayrton owned a house on the British coast. Ayrton, an engineer, was also politically active, a suffragette with multiple jail stays under her belt, and encouraged Curie to ignore the scandal and accept her Nobel Prize.

I love the strength, even the stubbornness, written into these two women. Their scientific accomplishments are remarkable, especially in light of their stations. As property of her husband, Ayrton’s invitation to the Royal Society was revoked when they discovered she was a woman. Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, but when she won a second in a different field, an honor that no man had yet received, the Award committee asked that she not accept in person because of her personal indiscretions.

I really enjoy the performances of Kate Mulgrew and Francesca Faridany in this Audible play, especially the intimate scenes at the sea-side retreat around which the play centers. But the second half of the story comprises several jumps in time highlighted by letters written between the women, and these are grand swathes of musings and emotion that feel heavy-handed. I hoped for more focus on Curie’s work.

Recommended as a short inspirational feminist piece that’s more personal than professional.