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Inside the shed, extracting radium

he public and industrialists were fascinated by the Curies’ discoveries. Radium, inexhaustibly giving out energy (you could see the light, and it gave out heat too), hinted at great mysteries and perhaps amazing inventions. Moreover, Pierre proved that radium could damage living flesh. That opened a new way to treat cancer and other ailments. But Marie lost nearly 20 pounds while doing her doctoral research, and Pierre was often exhausted and in pain. Was it overwork and stress, or was radiation the cause of their frequent illnesses? Marie refused to believe that radiation was very harmful, but doctors today think otherwise.

Radiation therapy

Industrial firms saw an opportunity in the Curies’ research. They helped the Curies by providing additional lab space, raw materials, and support staff. A thriving industry grew up, extracting radioactive substances for medical uses (and other uses too, like watches that glowed in the dark). Radium was also used by scientists for experiments on atoms. They confirmed what Marie had suspected—the powerful energy that showed up in radioactivity was a fundamental property of every atom of matter.

Read what Marie wrote here.quotes image

Read more about the answer to the mystery here. look image

A dish with a bit of radium compound.
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