What is Polonium?
It is an element with the chemical symbol Po and atomic number 84 in the periodic table. Polonium is in Group 16 and period 6 in the periodic table of elements. It is a rare natural element and highly radioactive metal with no stable isotopes, It was discovered in 1898 by Marie Sklodowska Curie and Pierre Curie. It is extremely toxic even in small amounts and is termed as perfect poison.
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Properties of Polonium
Certain Facts About Polonium
Its chemical property is similar to bismuth and tellurium. (Polonium is the heaviest metal of the chalcogens, also known as the "oxygen family.")
It has no stable isotopes. (Po-210 has a half-life of only 138 days).
It is a radioactive semi-metal found in uranium ores. It is used in some devices to eliminate static electricity in processes such as manufacturing sheet plastic, rolling paper, etc.
manufacturing sheet plastics, and spinning synthetic fibers.
It emits alpha-particles after the disintegration.
It is classified as a metal because polonium electrical conductivity decreases as its temperature increases.
If polonium-210 enters inside the body, through inhalation or swallowing, the results can be fatal.
Tobacco smokers have more polonium-210 content compared to nonsmokers because smoking causes it to accumulates in the lungs.
Did You Know?
Uranium and thorium were the only known radioactive elements before Polish-French physicist, Marie Curie discovered polonium in the year 1898. Curie named polonium after her homeland, Poland. Poland was not an independent country at that time and was ruled by German, Russian, and Austro-Hungarian partition. With the hope of naming the element after her native land Madam Curie did so to publicize its lack of independence, Polonium was the first-ever element to be named highlighting a political controversy.