Boxing day: Marie and Pierre Curie announce the discovery of radium

Today, that is, on the 26th of December, Marie Curie, her husband Pierre, and Gustavé Bemont announced in the Comptes rendus de l’Académie des Sciences in 1898 that they discovered a new element which they proposed to name radium.

Nowadays, an isotope of radium is of medical use against metastatic bone cancer, relying on the isotope’s release of helium nuclei (so-called α-decay) which destroy cells within a relatively small volume of tissue.

An English translation of the original article is available online. The original can be read here (pp. 1215-1217):

Featured image: Marie and Pierre Curie, and Gustavé Bemont in their laboratory in Paris, 1901. Welcome Images, CC-BY 4.0