The Radium Girls Fight Back

Season 3

September 2, 1922. Twenty-four-year-old Mollie Maggia has a toothache. In less than a year, this otherwise healthy young woman will be dead. Others like her will soon follow. They’d all shared what seemed to be a dream job: applying glow-in-the-dark paint to clock faces. The paint glowed because it was saturated with radium, the wonder element of its day. And now that radium has burrowed inside the bones and lungs of the women. How did a supposed wonder element and cure-all come to be seen for what it was – a deadly poison? And how did a group of courageous young women, racing the clock of their own mortality, expose this truth?

Special thanks to Kate Moore, author of The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women. If you want to learn more about the story of The Radium girls you can visit https://www.theradiumgirls.com. Also a huge thank you to Art Fryer, nephew of Grace Fryer, one of the “Radium Girls”.

More Episodes


A Meteorite Hits Ann Hodges

Season 4
November 30, 1954. At about 12:45 in the afternoon, a space rock comes plummeting through the roof of a house in Sylacauga, Alabama. It bounces off a standup radio, ricochets around the living room, and collides with the thigh of Mrs. Ann Hodges, who’s been napping on the couch. Newspapers declare: “experts agreed unanimously that Mrs. Hodges was the first person known to have been struck by a meteorite.” What happened to this space rock after it crashed to Earth and thrust itself into volatile human affairs? And what happened to the human beings whose lives were upended by this rarest of rare events?Thanks to our guests: Dr. Julia Cartwright, planetary scientist at the University of Alabama; Billy Field, professor at the University of Alabama and screenwriter; and Julie Love Templeton, attorney in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.Dr. Cartwright is involved in a number of art/science collaborations to engage and educate the public about meteorites and planetary science. You can find out more on her website, JACartwright.people.ua.edu. Keep an eye out for Billy Field’s latest project, TheStoryAcorn.com, which launches in January 2023. The website will feature history from the Civil Rights movement, told by those who lived it. The website teaches students to gather stories from their own communities and share them with the world. Thanks also to Mary Beth Prondzinski, former collections manager at the Alabama Museum of Natural History, and to the Alabama Museum of Natural History.