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Radium is a silver-white highly radioactive element Its atomic number is 88 and it is the heaviest alkali earth metal having a mass number of 226025 See Figure 1 Radium has at least twenty six isotopes and all are radioactive Shriver 1995 Since radium is chemically similar to calcium and magnesium it is absorbed by the bones of animals Once in the bones it emits alpha beta and gamma rays Shriver 1993 These rays shrink or destroy tissues and they are the reason radium is so harmful among humans Raloff 1994 Radium was discovered by Marie Curie and has been used in many medicines and medical procedures Shriver 1995 Some of those medicines and procedures are Radithor by Bailey Nasopharyngeal Radium Irradiation and cancer treatment Almost all uses for radium are presently obsolete Discovery of Radium Marya Sklodowska was born on November 7 1867 in a small boarding school for girls in Warsaw Marya grew up to marry a Pierre Curie on July 26 1893 when she was 27 causing her name to change to Marie Curie See Figure 2 Birch 1988 Marie Curie became the worlds most famous woman scientist because she remains the only woman to ever receive two Nobel Peace prizes She won her first award with her husband Pierre and her friend Henri Becueral by discovering two new elements polonium and radium Her second came with her extended research of the two Koerner 1995 To understand how the discovery of radium came about the discovery of radioactivity must first be analyzed The person responsible for the discovery of Walstead 2 radioactivity is Henri Becquerel He performed many experiments with newly discovered x-rays He found that by exposing graphic film to any type of light including x-rays the film darkens He first used visible light to find that the more intense the light is the darker the film becomes Becquerel discovered that when graphic film is placed on one side of a
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