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Word Count: 913
The discovery of the element radium is one of the most famous stories in the science world It started with the discovery of pitchblende which is an ore of uranium that is four or five times more radioactive than uranium itself Pitchblende was discovered by Antione-Henri Baecquerel in 1896 In Paris France in 1898 Marie and Pierre Curie were studying pitchblende separately met got married to each other and still continued their work on pitchblende After successfully removing uranium from pitchblende they noticed that the remaining material was still very radioactive so they concluded that another radioactive element had to be present This new substance was very similar to barium but because its chloride was slightly stranger it could be concentrated by fractional crystallization which is a process used to separate components from a mixture through differences in physical or chemical properties In 1902 after refining several tons of pitchblende from North Bohemia one-tenth of a gram of radium chloride was produced In 1911 Mme Curie and Andr-Louis Debierne isolated the element itself through the electrolysis of a pure radium chloride solution by using a mercury cathode and distilling it in an atmosphere of hydrogen gas The decay products of radium were historically known as radium A B C etc Today we know that these are isotopes of different elements shown in the chart to the right Radium E became the first radioactive element to be made synthetically on February 4 1936 Radium naturally occurs from the breaking down of uranium and is therefore found in all uranium-bearing ores Seven metric tons of pitchblende yields only one gram of radium Today the element is found in the carnotite which is a hydrated potassium uranyl vanadate mineral sands in Colorado but richer ores are found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo the Great Lakes area of Canada and can also be extracted from uranium processing waste Large uranium deposits are located in Ontario New Mexico
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