Using the visual language of color, in Radioactive Redniss makes a compelling case for an expanded social construction of science and the functional monism of science and technology as technoscience. But the social construction of science is already taken for granted by nearly all in the fields of science and technology studies (STS). STS scholars have worked hard to establish the relationships between scientific knowledge, power, institutional maintenance and control, the establishment of normative behavior and standards of conduct, and the formation of social networks of knowledge production and dissemination. Far less common, though more so thanks to Redniss, is the study of the social construction of science in the domain of human affect. Redniss’s subtitular tale of “love and fallout” is much more than the dramatic flourish of a skillful book publicist — it is an invigoratingly confident step into that domain.

Radioactive also finds itself at the border of another domain with which many scholars currently contemplate only with great unease. In it, Redniss’s arguments compose a visual semiotics in tandem with the traditional written language of scholarly work. As Johanna Drucker insisted in her Graphesis: Visual Forms of Knowledge Production, the pages of Redniss’s Radioactive produce, rather than merely display, the knowledge they illustrate, if only the reader thinks to attempt to read the visual language of the book more than the textual language (Drucker helps on this count too).

My interest in Redniss’s Radioactive is borne out of my interest in expanding both the domains of content and form of scholarly knowledge production. She expands the domain of content by pushing the social construction of scientific knowledge into the fuzzy realm of human affect. She expands the medial form of scholarly production into various artistic modes: typography, collage, printmaking, and painting. Both expansions make room in the Burkean parlor of academic history for nonspecialists, for children, and for aesthetes.