FunWhat is the most powerful radioactive substance known?

What is the most powerful radioactive substance known?

Far above uranium, radium is considered the most powerful radioactive substance known to this day. The origins of this element cannot be explained except through the life history of its discoverer. Born in a Warsaw invaded by Russians, Marie Curie studied at the Sorbonne while living in an attic in the Latin Quarter, fed with bread and butter, and exhausted from work. Already graduated in Physical Sciences , she married Pierre Curie , an excellent progressive scientist who had discovered the piezoelectric effect and always supported his work.


Chemistry chose one of the newest discoveries as its doctoral subject. Becquerel had observed that rays emitted from one of the uranium salts, striking a photographic plate wrapped in black paper, and this struck him as very curious. He soon saw that the radiation was greater the higher the mineral’s uranium concentration, regardless of other conditions . He called this property ‘radioactivity’. He did the same with other metals and found that only thorium emitted radiation, in addition to uranium.


Later, she investigated with her husband to isolate two new radioactive elements, polonium and radio , the latter of great power . In 1903, Marie read her doctoral thesis, Research on Radioactive Elements , a work that earned her the Nobel Prize in Chemistry that same year. Since then, the Curies warned about the danger of exposure to radioactivity, although very soon they also saw its medical possibilities.


The most important point in his career came in 1911, the year in which he received the second Nobel Prize for the discovery of radium. During World War I, he set up a mobile X-ray unit to attend to the wounded and, after the war, obtained 50 grams of radium from the United States to investigate.


This, apart from helping him to study substances with medical application in his later years , had negative consequences for his health, which was weakened in the form of blindness due to radium. In fact, his death occurred at the age of 67 due to a strong pernicious anemia: the marrow, destroyed by radiation, was unable to manufacture red blood cells.


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