Andre Louis Debierne French chemist discovered actinium element

Andre Louis Debierne – discoverer of actinium element

Article On Andre Louis Debierne

Biography & contributions

Andre Louis Debierne, a French chemist born on July 14, 1874 – died on August 31, 1949. Debierne was the discoverer of actinium element.Debierne in the year of 1910 in collaboration with Curie he isolated radioactive element radium while working on pitchblende.

Facts about actinium

Actinium was the first of the non-primordial elements to be discovered. Chemically, actinium, which in its native form is a silvery metal, has similar characteristics to that of the other rare earth elements such as lanthanum

Actinium has thirty-six isotopes all of which are radioactive. Out of all actinium radioactive isotopes 227Ac, the isotope has the longest half-life at 21,773 years. 227Ac is about a hundred and fifty times as radioactive as radium making a valuable as the neutron source of energy.

Actinium gives its name to a block of fifteen elements that lie between actinium and lawrencium in the periodic table with atomic numbers 89 through 103.

Actinium reacts rapidly with oxygen and moisture in air forming a white coating of actinium oxide that prevents further oxidation.

Facts about radium

Radium readily oxidizes on exposure to air, turning from almost pure white to black. Radium is luminescent, corrodes in water to form radium hydroxide. Radium is used in luminous paint. Radium and beryllium were once used as a portable source of neutrons. Radium is used in medicine to produce radon gas, used for cancer treatment. It emits alpha-, beta-, and gamma-rays when mixed with beryllium produce neutrons.

It is important that stored radium and radium-containing products or minerals be ventilated to prevent build-up of the gas radon. Radium’s most well-known use is in cancer treatments and therapies for other diseases.


Pitchblende was the source of discovery for several elements. In 1789, Martin Heinrich Klaproth discovered and identified uranium as a new element from pitchblende. In 1898, Marie and Pierre Curie discovered the element radium while working with pitchblende. In 1895, William Ramsay was the first to isolate helium from pitchblende.

Pitchblende, also known by the name uraninite, is a mineral comprised mainly of oxides of the element uranium, UO2 and UO3. It is our primary source of uranium. Pitchblende contains many other radioactive elements that can be traced back to the decay of uranium, such as radium, lead, helium and several actinide elements.

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