Radium (Ra)

#88 on the periodic table, #1 in our hearts

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Pure radium is a white and metallic color, but as soon as it is exposed to air, the color turns black and brown.

Discovery of Radium

Marie and Pierre Curie discovered radium in 1898 from their laboratory in Paris. They were searching for an element that could explain the radiation emitted by the element, uranium. They began to test small pieces of uranium for detectable amounts of radiation. The first radioactive element they found was polonium. Later, while studying Barium emissions, they discovered another radioactive element, which was radium.

Husband and wife, Pierre and Marie Curie

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Radium in Nature

Radium is found in rock, soil, water, plants, and animals, though in small amounts. It is found within uranium ores in larger amounts because it emits radiation. It is purified for use when it is carefully separated from other elements in pichblende.

Original Radium Uses (Before people knew it was dangerous)

Radium was also used for cancer treatment, early on. However, scientists have since found more effective and safer radiation sources.

Radium in Today's World

Radium - Periodic Table of Videos


Azria, P. (2010, February 28). My soviet submarine Vostok clock [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com

CR Radiograph of 60.24, "You" [Photograph]. (2008, May 7). Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com

Dogma, C. (2013, February 17). Doan's ointment [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com

Feaviour, L. (2013, August 21). Toothpaste (Explored) [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com

Haran, B. (n.d.). Radium - Periodic Table of Videos [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_I6vj-lXNM

Modak, N. (2009, January 24). Gps [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com

[Pure radium]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://mariecurieunsunghero.weebly.com/

Radium. (n.d.). Retrieved December 18, 2014, from Marie Curie: The Unsung Hero of Chemistry website: http://mariecurieunsunghero.weebly.com/

Radium. (2012, March 6). Retrieved December 18, 2014, from United States Environmental Protection Agency website: http://www.epa.gov/

rosefirerising. (2007, August 22). Pierre Curie: Laboratory [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com

Surbatovic, M. (2014, July 22). Lightning Strike 2 [Photograph]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com