Pierre Curie pioneer in the field of crystallography, co-discoverer of radium and polonium

Pierre Curie – co-discoverer of radium & polonium

Article on Pierre Curie

Biography & Contributions

Pierre Curie, a French physical chemist and Nobel laureate born on May 15, 1859 – died on April 19, 1906. Pierre was the great pioneer in the field of crystallography, magnetism, and radioactivity.

Pierre was receiver of many awards and medals in his life time which includes, Nobel Prize in Physics in the year of 1903,Davy medal in the year of 1903, Matteucci medal in the year of 1904, Elliott Cresson Medal in the year of 1909.

He was co-discoverer of radium and polonium radioactive elements. Pierre’s one more important work include discovery of Curie’s law.

Pierre also discovered that ferromagnetic substances exhibited a critical temperature transition, designed and studied torsion balance [torsion balance is used for measuring magnetic coefficient], ferromagnetism, paramagnetism, and diamagnetism concepts.

He discovered ferromagnetic substances contain Curie point, and also formulated curie dissymmetry principle.

Facts about polonium

Polonium is chemically resembles bismuth element and was found as a fraction of the bismuth sulfide in pitchblende ore. Polonium-210 is the only naturally occurring isotope.

Polonium widely used in space probes heaters, antistatic devices, and sources of neutrons and alpha particles.

Chemical properties of polonium like it dissolve readily in dilute acids, but slightly soluble in alkalis. Polonium solutions are first colored in pink by the Po2+ ions, but then rapidly become yellow because alpha radiation from polonium ionizes the solvent and converts Po2+ into Po4+.

Facts about radium

Radium is highly radioactive and its decay product. Radium reacts vigorously with water to form hydrogen gas and radium hydroxide. It reacts with even more vigorously with hydrochloric acid to form radium chloride.

Radium compounds especially radium chloride was used medicinally to produce radon gas for cancer treatment. Commercially radium was once an additive in toothpaste, hair creams, and even food items and was also used in self-luminous paints for watches, nuclear panels, aircraft switches, clocks, and instrument dials.

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