Actinium, element 89, was discovered by French chemist André-Louis Debierne in 1899, a year after the Curies discovered radium. Debierne announced his discovery the following year, naming the new radioactive element after the Greek άκτις (actis), meaning beam or ray. In this way, it is the Greek equivalent of the Curies’ Latin radium.1

1Oxford English Dictionary, actinium, 2nd Edition, 1989, Oxford University Press, accessed 15 November 2009,

Powered by ExpressionEngine
Copyright 1997-2014, by David Wilton