Science: Death of Mme Curie

The year was 1898; the month, December; the place, Paris. A woman with blue eyes and blonde hair, and a dark, bearded man worked in taut silence in a place described as a ''cross between a horse stable and a potato cellar.'' The walls were of rough planks; the glass roof, patched in places, leaked when it rained. There were three battered deal tables covered with apparatus, a few chairs, a pot-bellied stove. On the asphalt floor lay coarse mats.

Suddenly the woman turned off the gas lights. The darkness was complete except...

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