Polonium was discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie through their work on radiation in pitchblende (uranium oxide.) Polonium is named after Poland, the home of the Curies. Polonium is a harmful metal due to its radioactivity and it is also chemically toxic. It releases alpha particles making it very deadly. It was used in the murder of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko. Polonium’s uses are for the emission of alpha particles in paper and steel manufacturing. It is a solid metal at room temperature with a melting point of 254°c and a boiling point of 962°c.
Pierre and Marie Curie
Used in industrial equipment that eliminates static electricity caused by such processes as rolling paper, wire, and sheet metal.
Occurs in pitchblende from decay of bismuth.