I recently slowed down while reading Radioactive by Lauren Redniss. The book is part biography of Marie Curie, the story of radioactivity, and art book. Did you know Curie was from Poland? Her real name was Marya.
Throughout the book I was very attached to the idea of a blurred line between science and magic. Because Radium glowed, Marie Curie was awed by it. In the lab, it was something special. Curie wrote, "If a radioactive substance is placed in the dark in the vicinity of the closed eye or of the temple, a sensation of light fills the eye." In this context, seeking atomic energy and creating it, at least for the Curies, was spiritual. Mystical fusion was the thing that sort of kept them going. In Radioactive, Radium has nearly three sides: the mystical glowy side, the toxic side, and the healing one. It's still used as a cure for cancer. Even though exposure to it is so incredibly harmful. Pierre Curie died so young. Marie Curie followed. Her daughter and grandchildren also died of complications related to radiation exposure.