Friday, December 03, 2010

About a quote from Marie Curie

Madame Marie Curie: Science is essentially international, and it is only through lack of the historical sense that national qualities have been attributed to it. (iWise Wisdom Web page)
With regard to the purposes, efforts and benefits of science, these words of Marie Curie are valid. Thus, I do not think it appropriate, for example, to count numbers of Nobel-prize winners in science by nationality. However, the quote does not necessarily mean that science is a-cultural. Scientific activity is part of human culture, so that regional flavors are sometimes observed in the methods of doing science. Such flavors should be valued. (Adapted from my post on the above iWise Wisdom page.)

Note added later: By the way, I found the book, Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout" by Lauren Redniss, among editors' picks for the best books of December 2010. I like Richard Rhodes's words of review, "Absolutely dazzling. Lauren Redniss has created a book that is both vibrant history and a work of art. Like radium itself, Radioactive glows with energy."