ASTRID & HANNS-FRIEDER MICHLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ASTRID & HANNS-FRIEDER MICHLER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pitchblende. Sample of pitchblende, a form of the uranium ore uraninite (uranium oxide). In 1898, the French scientists Marie and Pierre Curie first identified the radioactive elements radium and polonium from a sample of pitchblende. This highly radioactive black ore is made up of uranium (U) and oxygen (O) in the chemical formula U3O8. Pitchblende also contains thallium, cerium and lead. As an uranium source it is important for the nuclear industry. Furthermore the radium it holds is used as a radiation source in various branches of industry and medicine. Polonium is no longer used as a neutron source in radiotherapy.
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