This Pete Smith Specialty tells the story of the discovery of radium and how it is used in medicine. The difficulty of obtaining the element is also demonstrated. Several tons of ore yield ...
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This Pete Smith Specialty tells the story of the discovery of radium and how it is used in medicine. The difficulty of obtaining the element is also demonstrated. Several tons of ore yield only minute amounts of the element. At the time of filming, the entire world's supply of radium was 1-3/4 pounds. Written by
David Glagovsky <firstname.lastname@example.org>
For those now undergoing cancer therapy with radiation this film should be of interest. It's from Pete Smith the legendary head of MGM's short subject department back in the golden days of the studio system. The subject is a serious departure from his comedy shorts.
Quite by accident radium was discovered by Henri Becquerrel and he brought it to the attention of fellow scientists in Paris, Pierre and Marie Curie. It was them who identified it as an undiscovered element and it took years to isolate it.
Eventually Madame Curie, a widow for many years after Pierre was killed in a Paris traffic accident died from so much exposure to the stuff. Now it's commonly in use, but the danger of over exposure remains.
MGM eventually gave this story the big screen treatment with Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon as the Curies. But for a factual and less romantic story, I recommend this MGM short subject.
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