Marie and Pierre Curie Essay

752 Words Mar 11th, 2006 4 Pages
Marie and Pierre Curie

More than hundred years passed since Marie and Pierre Curie won the Nobel Prize for discovering radioactive elements polonium and radium. The scientific world was excited with the newly discovered force of nature, but they soon realized that that the discovery was not the best for human race. They soon learned that the great discovery was a threat to health. Unfortunately, long time went by until their concerns were taken seriously. Marie Curie denied that radiation was bad for health even though everyone around her, who was exposed to radiation, was dyeing from leukemia. "She never fully acknowledged that her work had ruined her health" Marie curie herself was chronically ill and nearly blind from
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Marie Curie wanted to purify it so it could be used as early radiation treatment for tumors and other medical uses.
Radium's "radioactivity is due to the large size of the atom, which makes the nucleus unstable and prone to decay, usually to radon and then lead, by emitting particles and energy as it seeks a more stable configuration."
Radium has a bluish glow that caught people's attention and the companies tried to exploit this new invention. Radium was used in a lot of things including fake cure all medicines that did the opposite – they killed. Large companies opened up factories to produce wristwatches with glow in the dark dials that became very fashionable. The glowing dials were hand painted by "Radium Girls", some as young as 15, who worked in "studios" where they mixed their own paint from a powdered base. Soon after a lot of these girls became very sick and some of them died from so much exposure to the radioactive materials. The women used to use these glowing radioactive materials as make up, nail polish, and clothes accessories. They also used to put the brushes, they used for painting the watch dials, into their mouths to make the tip of the brush into a fine tip. They were so covered with radioactive dust; they glowed in the dark.
People started to suspect that radium was harmful to health so when working with radium they started wearing protective clothing. "Radium Girls" started getting sick, they were suffering from fatigue,

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