The Irene and Curry Roberts Lecture
The element of radium, newly discovered by the Curies, made gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shone bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.
Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toiled amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covered their bodies from head to toe, lighting up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" seemed the luckiest alive - until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.
But the factories that once offered golden opportunities ignored all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women's cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium took hold, the brave shining girls found themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America's early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights that would echo for centuries to come.
The lecture will illuminate the inspiring young women exposed to the "wonder" substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances – women whose courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives.
Speaker: Kate Moore
Kate Moore is the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of The Radium Girls. The book was named an ALA Notable Non-Fiction Book of 2018, voted US librarians' favorite non-fiction book of 2017 and also won the GoodReads Choice Award for Best History 2017. Kate is a British writer based in London, where she has had multiple Sunday Times bestsellers, writing across a range of genres, including true crime and biography. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked as an editorial director for Penguin Random House in London, editing and acquiring commercial non-fiction.