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STEM Movie Spotlight: Radioactive

Updated: Feb 3

By Rital Miller & Joslyn Stamp


Radioactive, directed by Marjane Satrapi is a biographical drama. It explores the life and revolutionary scientific works of renowned scientist and two-time Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie. After the death of her husband, Pierre Curie, Marie Curie commits to her scientific research on unknown radioactive elements. It becomes apparent that the elements she has discovered could lead to huge breakthroughs within medication but could also be used as a weapon in chemical warfare.


`"Radioactive" shows a spotlight on Marie Curie's pioneering contributions to the field of science, particularly her groundbreaking research on radioactivity and the discovery of two elements radium and polonium. The film adeptly incorporates STEM elements by portraying the scientific process and the challenges Curie faced in her pursuit of knowledge, especially by being a female in a male-dominated industry. From the laboratory scenes to the depiction of her revolutionary discoveries, the movie provides a captivating portrayal of the scientific world.


Social and emotional learning is seen in the movie as it delves into Marie Curie's personal and professional life. The movie shows the difficult emotions she is going through as the weight of societal pressures on gender and her losses affect her mental health. It also explores new perspectives on science, gender roles, and societal expectations. By highlighting Curie's struggles as a woman in a male-dominated field, the film highlights the hard work of women can prevail over society's ideals of who can contribute to scientific achievements


This movie inspires viewers to consider the possibilities within the STEM fields like chemistry. Maria Curie is best known for her discoveries of Polonium and Radium, both of which can be very dangerous elements causing human defects when exposed. She also found breakthroughs for cancer treatments, which are still being experimented and tested today since a cure has yet to be released to the public. This introduces several medical fields including pharmaceutical sciences


"Radioactive" carries a rating of PG-13, making it good for teenagers and older audiences. The film's mature themes and historical content may be more appreciated by viewers who can grasp the complexities of Marie Curie's life. "Radioactive" is a cinematic movie that skillfully intertwines STEM, SEL, and narratives of empowerment. By offering a glimpse into Marie Curie's life the film not only educates but also inspires audiences to embrace their passions, challenge societal norms, and contribute to the ever-evolving world of science. "Radioactive" leaves a lasting impression on viewers that encourages them (and ourselves) to explore the vast possibilities that STEM and SEL have to offer.


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