10 Minute Biographies Book Club Chapter 2 (Absolute Beginner Book Club)

According to Jisho, まもない means “after (practically) no time; immediately after; just​”. But they received the Nobel Prize in 1903, and Pierre died in 1906. So I wonder if the sentence is saying is that Pierre died suddenly in a traffic accident? According to English websites he died instantly having been hit.

Jisho also says that the adverb 間もなく means „soon“, „before long“ etc., therefore I interpreted it the same way as @2000kanji
I think dying three years after winning could be considered a short time span if you take into account that the text is about a whole lifetime.


Time is passing fast in this part of the biography. One sentence after their discovery, they get the Nobel Prize and Pierre dies.


Thanks. I hadn’t seen 間もなく. It’s interesting that 間もない and 間もなくare different in their implication of how soon something occurs.

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If you ever get to take a train in Japan, you will inevitably hear the announcement: 間もなく、電車が参ります。 :laughing:
And of course, usually it takes like 1-2 minutes until the train really arrives at the platform. So I guess it is supposed to mean “instantly” but of course there is some flexibility to it :wink:


I hesitated on the “machines” in the first sentence. きかい could be

  • 機械 machine
  • 機会 opportunity, chance
  • 奇怪 strange, wonderful

but in the two latter cases I don’t understand the grammar. 奇怪 would perhaps fit, but it is a na-adjective. On the other hand I don’t know if Marie Curie used radiation to examine machines?


She discovered that radiation is helpful in healing a disease called cancer or in examining invisible places in machines (?) / strange invisible places(?).
“Please teach me how to extract radium. I will give you money.”
Such wishes arrived from all around the world but Marie taught how to extract it without accepting money.
“Science belongs to everyone in the world. Just be careful with the radiation.”


I interpreted it as „machines“ or „instruments“: examine places not visible with instruments/machines.


I had: It was known that radiation was useful in treating an illness called cancer, and in investigating the unseen parts of machines.

I’m used to のに meaning “although” but here I’m guessing it is Jisho meaning 4: in order to

“Machines that examine places not visible” makes more sense, but I don’t understand how that would work grammatically.


This is my first attempt at translation. If I mess up the format, please let me know. I am really enjoying this series, btw!

Here it is:
‘She continued her rapid ascent up the stairs to science heaven’


Hey, nice to have you on board!

The format looks good to me. For the translation, you might want to double-check which qualifies which:

天に続く科学の階段 talks about 階段 - stairs.
Which 階段 is it? 科学の階段 - the stairs to science.
What do we know about the 科学の階段? They are qualified with 天に続く - leading to heaven. (Also that’s where the “continue” goes, it is not about the ascent.)
So I would probably rather translate it as

She rapidly ascended the stairs of science that lead to heaven.

p. 42

That said, Marie’s hands were inflamed like burns.
Marie had leukemia.
Marie, while continuing to climb the stairs of science, left this world like going out with a whiff.

Marie Curie (1867-1934)
The Nobel Prize family that dedicated their lives to science

For their devotion to the advancement of science, Marie and her husband Pierre received the Nobel Prize in physics and later the Nobel Prize in chemistry for the discovery of radium and the like.
She won the Nobel Prize twice by herself.
In addition, Marie’s daughter Irène, grew up watching her mother, also became a scientist and received a Nobel Prize in chemistry together with her husband.


I asked a Japanese friend and she said it’s about places of machines that can’t be seen. So I think your translation with the parts of machines is a very good solution.


I hope I’m not the only one that struggled with that last character!

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New thread tomorrow for chapter 3. Like others have found elsewhere, it won’t let me update the opening post of this thread with this link, I get an error saying I can’t make the change more than five minutes after posting a poll, even though I’m not changing the poll!


So 続く means ‘lead to’…Got it!

Well, its main meaning is „to continue“ but it can also mean „to lead to“ (as in, something that continues to the heaven also leads to it). Here is more about it:


This is my first “real” reading and I have some issues. Let’s take this sentence. I would like to understand literal translation (to see grammar mechanics), but I don’t know how to start with such sentences. From subject? From sub-sentence? How to approach it? Could someone show me on that example, how to do it, step by step, assuming that vocabulary is known and grammar points are identified?

Also, I don’t understand why there is 言われた and not 言った. Help?

I am sorry if this is some too-basic-question, probably I should know more grammar, but Marie Curie was my childhood’s hero :wink: and I wanted to try some reading.


I am not a grammar specialist, but I can try to explain.

  • First identify the topic of the sentence i.e. look for は: in this case it is ブローニャ (Bronya).
  • 言われた: to be told (passive past) - so Bronya has been told something
  • 国語の勉強をする: to study the national language
  • verb+ように言われた: to be told to do something - so Bronya has been told to study Polish
  • お父さんから…: by her father
    So the first part means:
    Bronya, who had been told by her father to study the national language

Now what about her?

  • 一人ではつまらない she is alone and bored
  • ので because of that
  • … を誘ったのです: … she invited someone
  • 四歳の妹のマーニャ: her four year old younger sister Manya

Putting all together:
Because Bronya, who had been told by her father to study the national language, was bored alone, she invited her four-year-old little sister Manya.


Thank you. That helps. :slight_smile:

It’s not too basic. These sentences are quite tricky to break down when you are getting started as they contain quite long subclauses. But by working through them (and asking questions :slight_smile: ) it will really drill into you Japanese sentence structure.