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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Suggest a Question for Lauren Redniss’s October 15th Lecture at Union South

Would you like to ask this year’s Go Big Read author a question about her book, her writing process, etc.?

Lauren Redniss’s October 15th lecture at Varsity Hall, Union South, is
free and open to the public. The event will begin at 7 pm (doors open at
6 pm) and no tickets are required. We hope you’ll attend and invite
anyone you know who might be interested.

Due to the large scale of the Varsity Hall event, the question and answer period will be moderated. Questions should be suggested in writing by October 10th. The moderator will select a representative set of questions and ask them of Lauren Redniss at the event.

If you would like to suggest a question, please post it as a comment to
this blog post. Please also consider including your name and some very
brief information about yourself (e.g., your major, unit, etc.).

Please note that blog comments are moderated so there may be a delay of
up to 24 hours between submitting your question and seeing it appear on
the blog.

23 thoughts on “Suggest a Question for Lauren Redniss’s October 15th Lecture at Union South

  1. James Glodoski, Freshman, Computer Science

    What gave you the inspiration to write Radioactive, and what were the biggest obstacles you met along the way?

    At what point, any why, did you decide on Radioactive's rather unique art direction?

  2. Scott Williams, UW Energy Institute

    You mention nuclear power a few times in the book: the Three Mile Island accident, the Chernobyl disaster, and the use of nuclear power for space exploration.

    While there have been a few notable accidents around the world (most recently at Fukushima), nuclear power has provided about 20 percent of our electricity in the U.S. for a couple of decades with very low emissions. Do you think the risks of using nuclear fission for electric power exceed the benefits, or vice versa? Did your research for this book change your perception about the risks vs. benefits in any way?

  3. Lorenza Zebell, Freshman

    The excerpt in the book about The Merry Widow Health Mine was very intriguing. In your research, did you uncover any other instances or facts that support the idea that small amounts of radiation can have health benefits?

  4. My friends who publish books often track two things about their books on Amazon.com. First, their sales rank. Second, the "Customers Who Bought This Book Also Bought." At last check, Radioactive was impressively ranked #14,938 in Books (it sounds like a big number, but if you simply imagine the number of books in and out of print, this is a number that represents hitting the big time). The "Also Bought List" includes a biography of Marie Curie, a nonfiction tale of the remaking of the Columbia River, two books about women and science, Tarzan of the Apes, another novel, a work of creative nonfiction on family's response to nuclear fallout, and, finally, a graphic memoir of David Small. My first question is do you track these metrics (sales ranks and co-sales) about your book, and if so, what do you do with the information? The second is how would you piece together the books in whose company yours finds itself? Whether or not you've read the other books alluded to here, do the descriptions of them help you form a coherent picture or profile of a kind of reader or readership for your book? (Does Tarzan of the Apes fit into this profile?)

    Robin Valenza, professor, English (teacher of comics and of artists' books, including Radioactive)

  5. The book is one about the history of science, which is appealing because the feeling the book gives is one that seems far from rational and scientific, although these are expressly topics of the work. Radioactive is a haunting book, from its stories of unexpected aftereffects of radiation to the practice of generating its pages to the eerie glow the covers give off in a dark room after extended exposure to light. Did you feel haunted, or a sense of the otherworldly, as you were writing it?

  6. Radioactive has been assigned the Library of Congress call number QD22 C8 R395 2011, which puts it in the range of "Chemistry, General." Somehow I imagine someone searching through that section of the library is not on the hunt for a book like Radioactive. This could be serendipitous for the searcher, but I wonder if you imagine the book as belonging somewhere else?

  7. Have you had the opportunity to explore Kohler Art Library's Artists' Book Collection either electronically or in person? Whether or not you have, would you consider your work to fall primarily under the general category of artists' books (as opposed to, say, a graphic narrative or a biography, although of course books can be more than one thing and in the electronic age can be linked to more than one category, but in libraries, a first choice or category needs to be the way a book is cataloged)

    From a Librarian

  8. Ben Brouillette, Freshman

    What was it like researching the devastation of the Hiroshima atomic bomb? Was it difficult to accept that the Curies' research was a vital precursor to the creation of nuclear-type weaponry?

  9. How did you develop the artistic style that you used in Radioactive? Was it solely inspired by the story of Marie Curie, or was it part of your greater artistic journey?

  10. Andre Tan, Junior/Senior, Anthropology

    I was wondering how you came to merge different medias in your storytelling publications. The love story was, to me, really powerful with this hybrid media you used – your graceful writing juxtaposed with your visual interpretation/representation offer different dimensions of a reading experience. I hope to hear more about what you would say about each of your art pieces used in the book, how you felt, what you were intending to express when you produced them.

  11. In the book you illustrate how the reputation of Marie Curie changed throughout her life and by whom one talked to (for example, as a scientist, as an adulterer, etc.). How has the dialogue about Marie Curie changed throughout the 20th century to today? Do we see Marie Curie differently than her contemporaries saw her when she was alive, and how?

  12. What are you working on now? Do you plan to continue writing books in this "graphic biography" vein? Do you see this genre expanding?

    Laura Rudquist, first-year graduate student, School of Library and Information Studies

  13. Emily Selner, Freshmen Life Science Communications
    This book is unlike anything I have ever read before. What were some of the challenges in incorporating both the scientific aspects of the Curie's work but also her personal life story? You intertwine scientific data but make it easily understood. Also why did you choose this style of writing versus a simple textbook?

  14. For chernobyl in the decade of 80 and the accident in Japan, are signs that the danger is not in the nuclei as generators of radioactive material, but is in the support systems that make it vulnerable.

  15. The "Also Bought List" includes a biography of Marie Curie, a nonfiction tale of the remaking of the Columbia River, two books about women and science, Tarzan of the Apes, another novel, a work of creative nonfiction on family's response to nuclear fallout, and, finally, a graphic memoir of David Small

  16. nice for shring, What was it like researching the devastation of the Hiroshima atomic bomb? Was it difficult to accept that the Curies' research was a vital precursor to the creation of nuclear-type weaponry?