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Discovery of Radium

Casa & Asa | 10-14 yrs | Video, Animation

What is radium?

Radium is a radioactive element with the chemical symbol ‘Ra’. It emits radioactive light rays which cause it to glow in the dark. In regular conditions, radium is a silvery metal. When exposed to air, it reacts to nitrogen and quickly forms a black coating.

Who discovered radium?

Marie Curie and Pierre Curie discovered radium in the form of radium chloride. Later, it was isolated in its metallic state through the electrolysis of radium chloride, by Marie Curie and André-Louis Debierne.

When was radium discovered?

It was discovered in 1898 and isolated in its metallic state in 1911.

How did Curie discover radium?

Marie and Pierre Curie discovered radium while working with samples of uraninite (pitchblende). After extracting uranium from uraninite, they discovered it was still radioactive. This suggested that it contained another element other than uranium which was also radioactive. Further studies led to the discovery of radium. The Curies announced their discovery to the French Academy of Sciences on the 26th of December, 1898.

In September of 1911, Marie Curie and André-Louis Debierne announced that they were successful in extracting a sample of radium in its metallic state.

What are the uses of radium?

Radium was initially used to make paints which would glow. These paints were used on clocks, watches and instruments that people could see in the dark. However today, the element has no major industrial uses as radium is highly radioactive and dangerous.