Archive for the Shownotes Category

Episode 75: Marie Curie Part Two

Posted 17 September 2016 by
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Marie faced life after Pierre Curie died with two children, more than just a touch of radiation exposure and a desire to use science to help all humanity but she also had a lot of non-science drama on the horizon.

Nobel portrait, circa 1911

Nobel portrait, circa 1911

 

Brief recap: Polish born genius navigates an early life filled with heartache and challenges to pursue one of academics and science in Pre-WWI Paris. She finds love, builds a family and when her partner in love and work, Pierre, dies in a horrible accident everything seems to be crashing down on her. Details on Part One, you should go listen.

Back in her Manya days. L-R: Manya, Papa, Bronya and poor, 2nd place Hela.

Back in her Poland Manya days. L-R: Manya, Papa, Bronya and poor, 2nd place Hela.

After Pierre died, Marie worked through her grief as best she could- she had two young daughters to raise and a lab to build so she continued her work discovering uses for radium, polonium and radioactivity. She relied heavily on Polish nannies and her father-in-law to help raise Irene and Eve, but was involved in their lives and guided their education in some pretty innovative ways. She also added “First PERSON to Earn Two Nobel Prizes” as well as, “Accused Family Wrecking, Husband Stealing Trollop” to her ever growing lists of life experiences. The first almost overshadowed by the second, we’re sorry to say.

L-R: Eve, Marie and Irene in 1908. (wikicommons)

L-R: Eve, Marie and Irene in 1908. (wikicommons)

Marie, it seems, wasn’t all science all the time…and scandal like the one with her longtime peer- turned- more, Paul Langevin never stays quiet for long–especially with Madame Langevin’s feeding the media. We cover all the details in the show, but Marie held her head high, weathered the harsh “boys will be boys, but women will be vilified” double standard, collected that second Nobel Prize and when it was suggested that she leave France and her professorship at the Sorbonne, she refused.

1911 Solevay Conference (Marie, only woman, Paul0-standing far right next to Albert Einstein.

1911 Solvay Conference: Marie, only woman, Paul-standing far right next to Albert Einstein right–they were both REALLY there for science, contrary to what Madam Langvin suggested.

And all of France should have been grateful that she stayed. When World War 1 broke out in 1914, Marie saw a need and filled it. X-ray technology had come a long way and she knew that if medical teams on the battlefields had equipment to see where shrapnel, bullets or breaks were, lives could be saved.

First medical X-ray, Wilhelm Rontgen's wife's hand with a fairly sizable ring!

First medical X-ray, Wilhelm Rontgen’s wife’s hand with a fairly sizable ring!

So she made mobile x-ray units. Yeah, just like that. Zut Alors! For the next four years she and Irene did their part for the war effort on battlefields and hospitals making sure people were trained in the use of the x-ray machines and getting the equipment to where it could help save lives.

Marie at the wheel of a Little Curie.

Marie at the wheel of a Little Curie.

Once the war was over, Marie faced another challenge: to get back to her work she needed not only funding but more radium than France possessed. Enter Missy Meloney. Missy was a journalist and editor but more importantly she was a big fan of Marie Curie.

And she was very effective at organizing, getting sh*t done, and using the media to her advantage. She also didn’t take no for an answer and convinced Marie that the women of America would fund her radium purchase and that the press Marie was suspicious of (and do you blame her?) would help. When both happened she got Marie–introverted, stay in the lab and out of the public eye Marie–  to travel to the the United States to collect it.

Missy's magazine that helped raise money for science! And you thought it was just dresses and recipes...tsk tsk.

Missy’s magazine that helped raise money for science! And you thought it was just dresses and recipes…tsk tsk.

Marie traveled twice to the United States. She toured, lectured and visited with thousands both times and collected substantial funds from two presidents. Back in Europe she not only set up the Curie Institute in Paris but also the Radium Institute in her beloved home country of Poland. She trained Irene to work by her side and take over when she was gone or couldn’t. (Her relationship with Eve was always…um…complicated.)

 

Marie and her walking pal, Albert Enistein

Marie and her walking pal, Albert Einstein

All the exposure to radiation was taking its toll on Marie. Several times in her life, she had long term health problems that would sideline her and keep her from her work and her girls (probably in that order.) In addition to frequent bouts of depression, she had chronic fatigue and pain…but the thing that caused it was the very thing that she felt was her life mission. After more frequent and severe illness, on July 4, 1934, 67 year-old Marie Curie died of aplastic anemia caused by her long-term exposure to radiation. She was first buried with Pierre in his hometown of Sceaux, but in 1995 their bodies were both exhumed and re-interred in the Panthéon, France’s national mausoleum.

Tests done on her ashes revealed that the cause of death was radiation, but more than likely not from the radium she spent her life working with, but the exposure to x-rays during the war.

 

In the Pantheon, Paris

In the Pantheon, Paris

TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS 

Priorities, people! Let’s start with a little Chemical Dance Party:

 

Internet of Interesting Items!

In Part One, we talked about the division of Poland that affected Marie’s life, for more information here is a quick recap from Encyclopaedia Britannica (little known fact: Susan worked for Britannica for many years.)

The Nobel Prize’s website contains bios of not only Marie but every Nobel Prize winner!

Mrs. Alice McPherson donated her diamond engagement ring and fundraising snowballed from there and the Marie Curie Foundation began to provide care for people with cancer.

Here is a fun online museum dedicated to Marie!

If you would like to read a little more about the first X-ray in 1895, click that link.

marie-curie-notebook

 

Marie’s papers are STILL radioactive 100 years later!!!

 

 

 

Time for a musical break!

Draw my life videos:

Books!

against-all-odds

carla-killough-mcclafferty

emling-shelley

obssive-genius-inner-world-of-mc-goldsmith-barbara

rosalynd-pflaum

the_radium_woman-eleanor-doorly

 

Film!

The one neither of us could get through, and a really great documentary that we could.

movie

 

bbc-documentary

High school girls << heart >> Science!
UNC girls talk math podcasts and website. Not necessarily Marie Curie centered, but she approved! Probably.

Rookie Epic Rap Battle (these girls’ senior project.):

And because Chris Graham wanted to make sure you all knew about this movie:

Let’s just leave you with something less…um…more…um…sciencey!

End song: Marie Curie, by The Crypts! Find them and their music on their website!

 

 

 

marie-curie-rose

Marie Curie rose, lovely, non?

 

Episode 74: Marie Curie Part One

Posted 27 August 2016 by
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A lot of people only know Marie Curie as a woman who won a Nobel prize (or two…spoilers) but that is just a small part of the life of this intelligent, brave, determined and focused physicist, wife and mother. Her life was so full it’s going to take us two episodes to bring it to you.

Marya Sklodowska was born in Russian controlled Warsaw, Poland, in 1867, the 5th child of two educators. But before you think that having teachers for parents must have made getting an education easy, think again. The Russians weren’t fooling around when they told the people of Poland that they were Russian now, forget everything Polish. And the Polish people weren’t fooling around when they said, “uh, yeah, about that…no.” This meant that Manya (her nickname), her sisters and brother had to learn twice as much: what the Russian education system expected and what their heritage and love of Poland dictated.

Manya (because we love the name and will use it as long as we can) at 16

Manya (because we love the name and will use it as long as we can) at 16

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Episode 73: Agrippina the Younger

Posted 6 August 2016 by
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Julia Agrippina (the Younger) was born on November 6, 15 AD just one year after Caesar Augustus died…that would be Great Grandpa Augusta to Agrippina. She was the first daughter to Germanicus, a very popular military general, and Agrippina the Elder a very brave and unconventional Roman military wife. Although her father would die when she was very young  coughpoisoncough and the rest of her family didn’t fare so well either, Agrippina would do what was needed to survive a very high profile life in a society where “high profile” meant “giant target.”Rome_Agrippina_Minor

This episode was a little different for both of us– the magnitude of materials we needed to reference so that we could puzzle together Agrippina’s life was surprising. We cover that dramatic life as the daughter of a military leader, the sister to an emperor, the wife AND niece to another emperor and the mother to yet another…but we also talked about life, challenges, customs and survival strategies for women in ancient Rome.

And we talk a lot about poison.

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Episode 72: Elizabeth Keckly

Posted 16 July 2016 by
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When we were researching Mary Lincoln we both admired her friend, Elizabeth Keckly, so much that we knew that had to talk about her. She was born a slave, eventually bought her freedom and built a very successful business (twice) all before she, too, realized her own White House dream. Yes indeed- Lizzie needs her time in the spotlight.Keckley1870framed

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Episode 71: Schuyler Sisters with Amanda Vaill

Posted 25 June 2016 by
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schuyler sisters

Since the musical Hamilton opened on Broadway we’ve been getting a lot of requests to cover the Schuyler sisters, Angelica, Eliza and Peggy. (You sang that, right?) But we couldn’t make it work because there wasn’t enough material available to us to fill a whole show in the way we would want to…so we met someone who could:.

Author Amanda Vaill.

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Episode 70: Mary Lincoln Part Two

Posted 11 June 2016 by
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In our last episode we talked about Mary’s childhood, education and life as the wife of Abraham Lincoln. She was described as, “amiable, accomplished, gracious and a sparkling talker,” by members of the Republican Party before she got to Washington…so what happened afterward that left her without this glowing impression?

Frida Kahlo may have approved of the fluffy dresses and floral head bling.

Frida Kahlo may have approved of the fluffy dresses and floral head bling.

 

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Episode 69: Mary Todd Lincoln, Part One

Posted 4 June 2016 by
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Mary Todd Lincoln’s life can’t be defined by who she married and her husband’s legacy–she was a lot more than simply a southern born wife of a president. Actually, she wasn’t simple at all.

Mary_Todd_Lincoln_framed846-1847_restored

Mary circa 1847 (wikicommons)

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Episode 68: Madam C.J. Walker

Posted 14 May 2016 by
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When Madam C.J. Walker solved one of her own personal problems, she also created an opportunity to leave behind a life as a laundress for one as a successful businesswoman, philanthropist and civil rights activists and she was able to take thousands of women with her. Alaia Williams from the 18 to 49 Podcast graciously fills in as guest co-host with Beckett to talk about the life of this trailblazing role model who began to change her fate by changing the condition of her hair.

Madam C.J. Walker

Madam C.J. Walker

Rags to riches stories don’t happen without a lot of hard work, the ability to fill a need, hard work, perseverance and- yeah- hard work. Madam C.J. Walker’s life was all that and more. When she was born on December 23, 1867 in Delta Louisiana, her given name was Sarah Breedlove – and she was the first person in her family who was not born a slave. This fact makes it sound like the family’s life was improving, but they were extremely poor sharecroppers and laundresses; none of the children went to school and by the time Sarah was seven, both of her parents had died.

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Episode 67: Q&A Number Two

Posted 2 May 2016 by
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What would you serve Dorothy Parker for dinner? When are you covering the Schuyler sisters? What would you tell your high school history teacher? We get a lot of questions and love them all (except maybe the mean ones). Some are asked quite often or were so good that we thought, “hmmm, maybe a lot more people would like to know this but were too busy to ask it, perhaps we should have a colloquy,” (because we’re fancy like that.)

And then Beckett talked Susan out of actually using the word, “colloquy.”

See? Fancy.

See? Fancy.

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Episode 66: Zelda Fitzgerald

Posted 22 April 2016 by
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Southern-born Flapper? Trophy wife of famous writer? Jazz Age fashion icon? Wild and selfish woman-child who went off the deep end?  Zelda Fitzgerald has been remembered in all of these ways – but none are entirely correct, nor do they describe this unique woman who lived a very complex life in an ever-changing world.

Zelda_Fitzgerald_portrait framed

Zelda was a southern born flapper. No argument there. Zelda Sayre began her life on July 24, 1900 in Montgomery, Alabama. She grew up in a socially prominent (although financially upper middle class at best) family as the loved-by-everyone, charming, energetic, brave and highjinky youngest child. She was a skilled ballet dancer, a fearless flirt and an incomparable Orange Blossom sipping beauty. Young gentlemen filled her dance card, frat boys swore their devotion to her and aviators flew over her house just to be noticed by her.

She became a Jazz Age icon and first wave flapper when she and her new husband–freshly published, (gasp!) Yankee writer, Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald– arrived in New York City to a life of instant literary fame in 1920. She defined the flapper: bold, brave, reckless and fun loving young women who threw off stuffy formality along with their corsets. Zelda and Scott lived a very public life of opulence as the poster couple for the wild, monied and creative set in both the US and Europe. Wherever they went partying followed; whatever they did somehow was used as material for Scott’s novels, articles and short stories. His second book, The Beautiful and the Damned, was so filled with their likenesses the publisher went ahead and marketed it with a couple that looked an awful lot like them on the cover.Beautifuldamed

The whole Youth on a Wild Bender life sounds kind of dreamy…for a short time, but the pair made “never settling down” a lifestyle. Even the birth of their only child, Frances Scott Fitzgerald (Scottie) didn’t slow them down. New York, Paris, the Riviera, Hollywood…they kept moving, Scott kept writing (and drinking), Zelda kept helping to critique (and write) his work and giving him fodder for the novels, short stories and articles that supported them. But the more Zelda lost herself into their marriage–into Scott’s literature–the more troubled she became.

Circa 1921, Zelda was pregnant with Scottie. (wikicommons)

Circa 1921, Zelda was pregnant with Scottie. (wikicommons)

We give a disclaimer that we TRIED to achieve middle-ground between Team Scott (she was his muse but also his crazy wife who pulled him down) and Team Zelda (she was an emotionally abused wife whose mental condition had more to do with an alcoholic husband, exhaustion and unnecessary and harmful medical treatment than simply an existing mental illness). We probably failed to completely achieve middle-ground.

We’re okay with that.

Zelda tried to find and throw herself into creative outlets for herself ONLY–her OWN writing, ballet dancing, painting all of which she was very good at. These activities worked to help her express herself and to keep it together…until they didn’t. His behavior towards her– multiple affairs (she wasn’t exactly innocent here, either), alcohol induced dramas, panic from massive debts mounting, dismissing her art, her writing, her value, and blaming her for any family failures– only pushed her spiral downward.

The wife, the girl friend. hmmm...

The wife, the Hollywood girl friend. hmmm…

When Zelda was hospitalized in 1930 she was immediately diagnosed as schizophrenic (most likely incorrectly diagnosed) and moved (was forced?) into the next phase of her life: 18 years spent in and out of mental institutions. As part of her therapy she painted and wrote an autobiographical novel, Save Me the Waltz, that allowed her to tell her story through her lens, not Scott’s. She sent it to Scott’s publisher behind his back, but in the end he still managed to put his imprint on the book.

Zelda-The-first-edition-cover-of-Save-Me-the-Waltz-1932

 

We tell a lot more of Zelda’s story in the podcast, give anecdotes and opinions to fill in the black and white impression that many have of her very colorful life.

Scott Fitzgerald died of a heart attack in 1940. Eight years later, on March 10, 1948 Zelda was locked into her room for the night at Highland hospital in Ashville, North Carolina, the psychiatric facility where she had been living, when a fire broke out and she died. She was 48 years old. She is buried with Scott and Scottie (who lived a long and pretty normal life) in Maryland.  The words on their tombstone is the final sentence from Scott’s most famous book, The Great Gatsby:

“So we beat on; boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

flikr cc Mr.TinDC

Even in death, Scott got the last word. Maybe spending an hour listening to her story will let Zelda’s voice be heard.

 

TIME TRAVEL WITH THE HISTORY CHICKS

We dug up a hefty collection of links and materials that would make Zelda blush with pride. Probably.

We’ll start off by bucking convention (Zelda would have it no other way) and get you in the mood with the end song that we didn’t play. Tiny Victories, Scott and Zelda

Websites:

You want to see her art (you do, trust us) and instead of breaking copyright laws we’ll simply send you to ART.COM. (Not sponsored, we always tell you if something is.) 

Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery Alabama, housed in the last house the couple rented 1931-’32. Going would be your best bet, but clicking through the collections online is a good second place.

Fitzgerald Museum

Fitzgerald Museum

Scott and Zelda website, by their family– it’s pretty.

You really, really  REALLY ought to go check out our Pinterest board for Zelda.

 

BOOKS

Edited by Matthew Bruccoli

Edited by Matthew Bruccoli

2011 Nancy Milford

2011 Nancy Milford

2012 Sally Cline

2012 Sally Cline

Theresa Anne Fowler

Fiction: Theresa Anne Fowler

MOVIES

We didn’t talk much about it but did touch on the 2011 Woody Allen film, Midnight in Paris. Here is a scene, you tell us if you think Alison Pill as Zelda is what you imagined her to be.

Zelda Fitzgerald: The Musical, You can watch the whole thing on this site. Theater! Without leaving the house! In your jammies or MeUndies loungewear! (That is totally sponsored)

Not a movie, but the Amazon Prime original,  Z: The Beginning of Everything has one episode with Christina Ricci as Zelda available to stream for the low, low price of $0.00.

We couldn’t help (when we lined-up with Team Zelda) but think back to Gaslight with Ingrid Bergman, the 1944 movie about a man who makes his wife believe that she is crazy.

THIS AND THAT

Do you find yourself on Team Zelda? We have a shirt for that. Check out our shop for all our Chick Gear.

History Chicks Baby/Pet/Car Name Guide entry: Zelda. Read all about the name at Appellation Mountain.

You guys all know to Snopes something before you share it, right? (It’s okay, we’ve all done it once or twice). Here is the story behind the List of Reasons for Admission to an Insane Asylum, early 1900s. 

If you are drawn to Zelda because of an interest in psychotherapy (as in learning about it, not necessarily undergoing it) (not that there is anything wrong with that) here is the handy dandy guide that Beckett mentioned comparing Jung and Freud. 

They make it look so easy…and no Dippity Do! (Which, apparently, is still a thing! Dippity-Do.com)

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And finally, super special thanks to this week’s sponsors, MeUndies and Green Chef!