Over four years, working under poor conditions and spending their own funds, the Curies processed more than a ton of uranium ore to isolate a mere gram of radium salt.
Radium became highly desirable because it was about two million times as radioactive as uranium.
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Uranium is radioactive whether it is in the form of an element or compound.
In addition, radiation does not vary with temperature, pressure, or ionization state of the uranium atom.
When a plant or animal dies it stops taking in carbon-14 and radioactive decay begins to decrease the amount of carbon-14 in the tissues.
The age of the plant or animal specimen containing carbon, such as wood, bones, plant remains, is determined by measuring the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14. Because of this relatively short half-life, carbon-14 can only be used to date specimens up to about 45,000 years old.
The Curies’ radium salt glowed visibly from the radiation.