radium / radioactive / radio / radiation

Radium, element 88, was discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie in 1898. The Curies dubbed the new element so because of its radioactive properties. The rad- is from the Latin radius, or ray. The first known English appearance of the word is in a January 1899 article by the pair.1 The chemical symbol for radium is Ra. The Curies were awarded the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on radioactivity, and Marie was also awarded the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry specifically for the discovery of radium, becoming the first person to be awarded two Nobel Prizes. (Pierre had died in 1906 and Nobels are not awarded posthumously.)

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