A proud native of the Second City, producer Jenny Lawton joined Studio 360 in 2007. Since then, she's produced the show's American Icons specials on the Disney parks and I Love Lucy, lots of stories in the Aha Moments series, and a portrait of the Japanese tea ceremony from Kyoto. She also serves as the managing editor of studio360.org and coordinates the show's internship program. Jenny started recording interviews as a Watson Fellow in India and Spain, researching the origins of flamenco dance. She cut her teeth in journalism at Chicago Public Radio, where she filed stories on culture, politics, technology, and the environment for WBEZ as well as NPR's Morning Edition and PRI's The World, among other programs. Jenny was awarded a USC-Annenberg/NEA Arts Journalism Fellowship, and lectures about radio and sound design at NYU and her alma mater, Kenyon College.
Maggie Gyllenhaal Channels Madame Curie
Thursday, June 02, 2011 - 12:12 PM
Marie Curie is the sexiest story in science history. The Polish-French physicist and chemist may be as famous (alas) for her love life and tragic death as for her essential early studies of radioactivity, first with her husband Pierre, then on her own. This year is the 100th anniversary of Curie's Nobel Prize in Chemistry; she was also the first woman to be awarded the Nobel, and the first person to receive two of them.
But during her lifetime — and even now — scientists were not supposed to have sexy backstories. Following Pierre Curie’s death, she had an affair with a married physicist that landed her and her love letters in the tabloids, which were not much nicer than they are now.
No surprise that since her death, Curie has charmed authors, filmmakers, and playwrights. Add Alan Alda to the list, who makes his playwrighting debut with a tribute to the woman he calls his hero. At the opening gala for the World Science Festival last night, a terrific cast performed a reading of Alda's Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie. Readers included Liev Shreiber, Allison Janney, and Maggie Gyllenhaal in the title role. Gyllenhaal channeled Curie’s stubbornness, obsessiveness, and fragility (she literally wasted away from her long exposure to radium). And while magnetism and radioactivity are used as double-entendres on more than one occasion, Alda manages to foreground Curie’s true passion for science over her personal drama.
Listen to this excerpt of Curie (Gyllenhaal) talking to her lover, Paul Langevin (Shreiber) — Alda reads the stage directions.