Zombie Marie Curie!


Go read xkcd right now. I have spoken.

This entry posted in Cartooning & comics, Feminism, sexism, etc. Bookmark the permalink. 

20 Responses to Zombie Marie Curie!

  1. 1
    Robert says:

    I obey your command, but only because I want to.

  2. 2
    Ampersand says:

    Oh, that’s awesome.

  3. 3
    Ruchama says:

    Awesome.

  4. 4
    Stefan says:

    I was very unpleasantly surprised when I saw the statue of Frédéric Joliot-Curie in the Faculty of Physics here in Bucharest.No statue of Marie Curie, of course, although she got 2 Nobels , one of them for physics, and Frédéric got 1, and for chemistry.Frédéric’s statue seemed ostentatious.

  5. 5
    Robert says:

    Why unpleasantly surprised? Frederic Curie was a great scientist in his own right, and it’s not like Marie Curie has been ignored.

  6. 6
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    What, you think I don’t already read xkcd every day? Sheesh!

  7. 7
    Doug S. says:

    Even the days with no update?

  8. 8
    nobody.really says:

    Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but … no Easter egg?

  9. 9
    Stefan says:

    Robert, I said why, because Marie won a Nobel for physics and Frederic did not, and there was no statue of her there, where students are learning physics.It looked like they chosed Frederic among other scientists precisely because he was named “Curie”.An affront to Marie Curie.

  10. 10
    Robert says:

    Ah, I think I see it. You’re confusing Frederic with Pierre.

    Pierre Curie was Marie’s partner-in-mad-science and husband (and both of them got the prize in physics, not chemistry). It would indeed be a little odd to have a statue of only Pierre; while he was also a great scientist, his fame is a bit eclipsed by that of his wife and I’d bet that most memorializations that only feature one of them, feature her rather than him.

    Frederic Joliot-Curie was Marie’s son-in-law (he married the Curie’s daughter Irene, and they hyphenated their names). He (and his wife Irene, ALSO a great scientist) got the prize in chemistry because their work was on the structure of the atom, but they were physicists, not chemists. While he did work for Marie at one (important) point in his career, they weren’t partners of a sort that it would be weird to see one memorialized but not the other.

    As for why Frederic specifically would be memorialized in Bucharest, I’d wager it was because he was a devout and active Communist, big-C, and was extremely respected in all the former Soviet bloc. (He won the Stalin Peace Prize in 1951. Bad economist. Great scientist.) I imagine the Institute dates from that period in Romanian history. It’s not strange that an archetypical comrade scientist whose contribution to physics was enormous would be so honored, without his mother-in-law tagging along as well ;)

    ETA: I left out Irene Curie and went back to note her significant contributions.

  11. 11
    Stefan says:

    Ah, I think I see it. You’re confusing Frederic with Pierre.

    No, I don’t.
    I know Frederic was a physicist, but he got the Nobel prize for chemistry, not physics.Marie got it for physics.
    I didn’t know that Frederic was a communist, though.But I still think sexism, more than communism, had to do with Frederic’s statue being placed there and not Marie’s.

  12. 12
    Robert says:

    He got it for making fundamental discoveries about the nature of the atom. That’s pretty physicsy.

    Would you think it weird if they had a statue of Leo Szilard?

    There are six Curies (three male, three female) who were notable physicists. Are you saying that nobody should ever memorialize any of those Curies other than Marie?

    I assumed you had misidentified the Curie involved because it would seem odd to memorialize only half of the most famous Curie couple; it wouldn’t seem odd to memorialize only half of the other couple because they aren’t famous as a couple even though they did their work together. But lacking that identification, your “wtf?” about the guy they chose to memorialize is what seems strange. The world is chock-full of notable scientists who aren’t Marie Curie – many of them female!

    Which was in fact the point of the cartoon.

  13. 13
    Stefan says:

    He got it for making fundamental discoveries about the nature of the atom. That’s pretty physicsy.
    Would you think it weird if they had a statue of Leo Szilard?
    There are six Curies (three male, three female) who were notable physicists. Are you saying that nobody should ever memorialize any of those Curies other than Marie?

    If the criteria is, who was a more accomplished physicist, then Marie Curie should have “won”, because she was the only one who got 2 Nobel prizes.
    If the criteria is, who got the Nobel for physics, then Pierre and Marie should have been memorialized, because they were the only Curies who got the Nobel for physics.
    If we extend the discussion to people who were not from the Curie family, then I don’t know.I had never heard of Leo Szilard.

    The world is chock-full of notable scientists who aren’t Marie Curie – many of them female!
    Which was in fact the point of the cartoon.

    The other point of the cartoon is that Lise Meitner deserved the Nobel for physics but she lost it to Otto Hahn (who I think is unfairly mocked in the cartoon, by the way).If Marie Curie, who got 2 Nobels, was not memorialized, then I wouldn’t expect other women, like Lise Meitner, to be memorialized.

  14. 14
    Robert says:

    If the criteria is, who was a more accomplished physicist, then Marie Curie should have “won”, because she was the only one who got 2 Nobel prizes.
    If the criteria is, who got the Nobel for physics, then Pierre and Marie should have been memorialized, because they were the only Curies who got the Nobel for physics.

    Well in that case, on both counts, they should have put up a statue of John Bardeen, who got two Nobel prizes, both of which were in physics. (Marie Curie’s second Nobel was in chemistry.) So OBVIOUSLY he’s the best.

    Since there is no particular connection of the Curie family to the institute, it seems fairly obvious that they weren’t trying to pick “which Curie should we try to attach to our glory”, but rather “which physicist do we want to valorize here-and-now.” The political reasons for choosing Frederic seem pretty basic, and it’s no slam to Marie Curie, or to any of the other bazillion physicists in the world. They weren’t trying to name the World’s Greatest Physicist, or the Bestest And Most Nobelly Curie…they just wanted to valorize some physicist, so they chose a great one who happened to share the politics of the country at the time.

  15. 15
    Ampersand says:

    It’s rare that I entirely agree with Robert, but I entirely agree with Robert.

  16. 16
    Auguste says:

    It’s common that I entirely agree with Ampersand, but I entirely agree with Ampersand.

  17. 17
    Robert says:

    I totally agree with Auguste, but Ampersand is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

  18. 18
    Ledasmom says:

    We’re a very agreeable group.

  19. 19
    Robert says:

    I disagree.

  20. 20
    Stefan says:

    Student in physics Amelia Fraser-McKelvie discovers some of the “missing mass” of the Universe :

    http://www.science20.com/news_articles/undergraduate_student_amelia_frasermckelvie_solves_missing_mass_problem-79455

    This is a huge discovery, it could mean that the “dark matter” is not so dark after all.
    Amelia will get famous.