The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women

Woman painting clock face with radium

Thursday, April 22, 2021
11:00 a.m. PDT




A Speaker Series:
Toxicology and Societies
The Impacts of Chemicals in Our Lives

Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 11:00 a.m.


Brought to you in partnership with Huxley's Institute of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry and the WWU Alumni Association

Please join us for the next speaker in our series on Toxicology and Societies: The Impacts of Chemicals in our Lives.

Kate Moore introduces the Radium Girls, the American women from the Roaring Twenties who were poisoned by the radium paint they worked with, and shares their horrifying, courageous and inspiring story. As well as describing the women’s strength and sacrifice, she makes clear their importance to world and science history, and takes our audience behind the scenes on her research for her New York Times bestselling book on the women, sharing anecdotes and memories of how she brought their forgotten story back to life.

Our vision in developing this series was to support a better understanding of something that affects all of us. There are over 300,000 chemicals being produced and used in almost everything we wear, eat, and drink. How can you ever hope to understand when and where you or your family might be at risk from some of these chemicals? The short answer is, you can’t know everything about all of these substances, but you can learn more about how toxicology (the study of toxic substances) affects you and your society.

This seminar series aims to help you better appreciate, understand, and evaluate the many ways that manufactured chemicals interact with all humans on Earth.

More information about the speaker series is available here.

Kate Moore

Kate Moore


Kate Moore is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Radium Girls, which won the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award for Best History, was voted U.S. librarians’ favorite nonfiction book of 2017, and was named a Notable Nonfiction Book of 2018 by the American Library Association. A British writer based in London, Kate writes across a variety of genres and has had multiple titles on the Sunday Times bestseller list. She is passionate about politics, storytelling, and resurrecting forgotten heroes. Visit her at

Ruth Sofield

Ruth Sofield


Ruth Sofield is a Professor of environmental toxicology and chemistry in the Huxley College of the Environment. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. Ruth’s research group focuses on the effects of water and air pollution. Their current projects include the aquatic toxicity of microplastic and tire wear particles, and the use of moss as a biomonitoring tool for particulate matter. Ruth is a member of the Puget Sound Partnership Science Panel and the President of the Pacific Northwest Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

Tracy Collier

Tracy Collier


Tracy Collier received his Ph.D. in Fisheries Sciences from the University of Washington. He has worked for over 45 years as a toxicologist, with more than 35 of those years spent at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, where he served as the director of a science division that employed up to 100 people, covering several disciplines, including environmental toxicology, analytical chemistry, harmful algal blooms, and watershed processes. He has over 175 scientific publications, and currently is an affiliate faculty at Western.

Upcoming Spring Quarter Talks

May 6, 2021
Title: Toxics and Indigenous Environmental Injustice in the Great Lakes Region of North America
Speaker: Jessica Koski (Bureau of Indian Affairs Midwest Region and member of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Michigan's Upper Peninsula)

May 20, 2021
Title: Challenges of Treating PFAS, the Forever Chemical
Speaker: Michelle Crimi (Clarkson University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering)

June 3, 2021
Title: TBD
Speaker: Linda Birnbaum (American toxicologist, microbiologist and the former director of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences)

Questions and Accommodations

Contact the WWU Alumni Association for this event. Feel free to call at (360) 650-3353 or email at if you have any questions or comments.

There will be auto-captions available for this event. To request closed captions, please mark the request on the registration form. Advance notice of three days to one week is appreciated.