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One of the League writes

Hey Redhen,

I'm still smiling after visiting your yard. Reading Igor's research, I thought of a page which could be of your interest. You may have a look at it here. There, a nice pottery crock is shown, with this comment:

"This large pottery crock was lined with radium ore. Instructions on the jar suggest that you fill it every night with water and drink an average of six or more glasses daily. After its discovery by Pierre and Marie Curie in 1898, radium was considered a "cure-all" until the early 1920s".

Another page, titled Meet Madame Marie Curie reads as follows:

"Before its hazards were known, radium was even used to paint luminous dials for wristwatches!"

curiemIt also states: "...she died in 1934 of an incurable form of anemia that is now attributed to radiation poisoning".... while the Nobel site states that " Mme. Curie died at Savoy, France, after a *short illness, on July 4,1934." and finally, in another page "Marie Curie died of leukemia on 4 July 1934"

Some highlighted paragraphs of this last site:

"He described the medical tests he had tried out on himself. He had wrapped a sample of radium salts in a thin rubber covering and bound it to his arm for ten hours, then had studied the wound, which resembled a burn, day by day. After 52 days a permanent grey scar remained. In that connection Pierre mentioned the possibility of radium being able to be used in the treatment of cancer" ...

"In actual fact, Pierre was ill. His legs shook so that at times he found it hard to stand upright. He was in much pain. He consulted a doctor who diagnosed neurasthenia and prescribed strychnine. And the skin on Marie's fingers was cracked and scarred. Both of them constantly suffered from fatigue. They evidently had no idea that the radiation could have a detrimental effect on their general state of health".

"Pierre, who liked to say that radium had a million times stronger radioactivity than uranium, often carried a sample in his waistcoat pocket to show his friends. Marie liked to have a little radium salt by her bed that shone in the darkness".

"The papers they left behind them give off pronounced radioactivity. If today at the Bibliothèque Nationale you want to consult the three black notebooks in which their work from December 1897 and the three following years is recorded, you have to sign a certificate that you do so at your own risk. People will have to do this for a long time to come. In fact it takes 1,620 years before the activity of radium is reduced to a half".

"Rutherford was just as unsuspecting in regard to the hazards as were the Curies. When it turned out that one of his colleagues who had worked with radioactive substances for several months was able to discharge an electroscope by exhaling, Rutherford expressed his delight. This confirmed his theory of the existence of airborne emanations..."

The great Sarah Bernhardt read an 'Ode to Madame Curie' with allusions to her as the sister of Prometheus.

I wonder how many folks they might have irradiated, not knowing the devastating effects it had.

pcurieThough Pierre Curie was run over and killed by a horse-drawn wagon, he also had what is presently known as leukemia.

Another curiosity is the description of how thyroid surgery was done by Kocher, laureated with the Nobel on 1909 "for his work on the physiology, pathology and surgery of the thyroid gland".




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