Marie Curie - Eve Curie - Pierre Curie - The Genius of Marie Curie TV - Jim Al-Khalili TV - Michael Mosley TV - Ernest Rutherford - Thomas Edison - William Crookes -
The various reasons we have just enumerated lead us to believe that the new radioactive substance contains a new element to which we propose to give the name of RADIUM. Marie Curie
We must not forget that when radium was discovered no one knew that it would prove useful in hospitals. The work was one of pure science. And this is a proof that scientific work must not be considered from the point of view of the direct usefulness of it. It must be done for itself, for the beauty of science, and then there is always the chance that a scientific discovery may become like the radium a benefit for humanity. Marie Curie
The radiation of radium was contagious – contagious like a persistent scent or a disease. It was impossible for an object, a plant, an animal or a person to be left near a tube of radium without immediately acquiring a notable activity which a sensitive apparatus could detect. Eve Curie
It can even be thought that radium could become very dangerous in criminal hands, and here the question can be raised whether mankind benefits from knowing the secrets of Nature, whether it is ready to profit from it or whether this knowledge will not be harmful for it. The example of the discoveries of Nobel is characteristic, as powerful explosives have enabled man to do wonderful work. They are also a terrible means of destruction in the hands of great criminals who lead the peoples towards war. I am one of those who believe with Nobel that mankind will derive more good than harm from the new discoveries. Pierre Curie
She was at the world’s first international meeting of physicists and chemists. The Genius of Marie Curie – The Woman Who Lit Up the World, BBC 2013
Radioactivity – she’d given a whole new area of physics its name. ibid.
Marie and Pierre had discovered a new element: radium. ibid.
She is the only person to win two Nobel prizes in two different sciences. ibid.
This brave brilliant Polish scientist. ibid.
Radium is an extraordinary powerful source of radioactivity that Rutherford had named Alpha rays. They weren’t really rays, they were more a steady stream of particles, and radium spat out these particles like a machine gun that never ran out of bullets. Jim Al-Khalili, Atom s1e1: The Clash of the Titans, BBC 2008
Radium: It was a sensational discovery for one primary reason: Though radium looks like an unremarkable grey metal it contradicted all the then known laws of physics. Because radium pumps out invisible yet powerful rays of energy which could fog sealed photographic paper and burn human flesh. Jim Al-Khalili, Atom s1e2: The Key to the Cosmos
Radium appeared to contain within it an inexhaustible store of energy. Curie worked out that a gram of radium – a piece much smaller than a penny – contains more energy than a hundred tons of coal. ibid.
When radium was first discovered they found all sorts of weird and wonderful commercial uses for it; here is the radium bath products, there’s the radium eau de cologne, atomic perfume and radium face cream. ibid.
Radium’s mysterious properties caught the public imagination. Helping to sell a new range of consumer products. Which was unfortunate since radium is radioactive. Michael Mosley, The Story of Science: Power, Proof & Passion, BBC 2010
Small amounts were put into toothpaste, heat pads, toys. Just the name radium was enough to sell a product. ibid.
The scientists responsible for first isolating radium were Marie Curie and her husband Pierre. ibid.
Tell young Marsden to go back and see if he can detect any alpha particles on the same side of the gold leaf as the radium source. Ernest Rutherford to Geiger, attributed
I have a peculiar theory about radium, and I believe it is the correct one. I believe that there is some mysterious ray pervading the universe that is fluorescing to it. In other words, that all its energy is not self-constructed but that there is a mysterious something in the atmosphere that scientists have not found that is drawing out those infinitesimal atoms and distributing them forcefully and indestructibly. Thomas Edison
Probably if half a kilogram [of radium] were in a bottle on that table it would kill us all. It would almost certainly destroy our sight and burn our skins to such an extent that we could not survive. The smallest bit placed on one’s arm would produce a blister which it would need months to heal. William Crookes, The New York Times February 1903