American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A naturally radioactive metallic element, occurring in minute quantities as a product of radium disintegration and produced by bombarding bismuth or lead with neutrons. It has 27 isotopes ranging in mass number from 192 to 218, of which Po 210, with a half-life of 138.39 days, is the most readily available. Atomic number 84; melting point 254°C; boiling point 962°C; specific gravity 9.32; valence 2, 4. See Table at element.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A radioactive substance discovered in pitchblende by M. and Mme. Curie in 1898: named in honor of Poland, the native country Of Mme. Curie. It was found that bismuth precipitated by sulphureted hydrogen from an acid solution of pitchblende carried down with it something possessed of marked radioactivity. The radiation caused electrical conduction in gases, rendered phosphorescent a screen coated with barium platinocyanide, and produced a latent image on a photographic plate protected by a screen opaque to ordinary light The radioactive substance in question was found to resemble bismuth, not only in being thrown down by sulphureted hydrogen, but in furnishing salts soluble in acid but precipitated by water and by ammonia. Partial separation from bismuth was effected, but only to the extent of producing salts of the latter metal of considerably increased radioactivity. Polonium is identical with the radioactive bismuth of Giesel and the radiotellurium of Marckwald. The last-named investigator has gene much farther in the separation of polonium from other substances. By deposition from solution on a plate of metallic bismuth, and by precipitation by stannous chlorid, separating bismuth and in part tellurium, an extremely active product was obtained, but in very small quantity—only 1.5 gram from 2 tons of pitchblende. Afterward, by precipitating all remaining tellurium by hydrazine hydrochlorid, and throwing down the polonium by stannous chlorid, the radioactive substance was obtained in the finally concentrated state as a precipitate weighing only 4 milligrams, or 1 part from 500 million parts of pitchblende. The radioactivity of this final product was, however, extraordinary, one hundredth of a milligram sufficing to render a surface of zinc sulphid phosphorescent so that it could be seen by a large audience. Even in this most concentrated form no directly visible light is given off. The radiation is of the
αor non-penetrating type. No gaseous emanation is given off, and activity is not induced on surrounding bodies. The activity of polonium gradually decreases, and falls to half its original value in 143 days. Rutherford has shown that polonium is a disintegration-product of radium and accordingly of uranium. It is the seventh successive product which has been identified as formed from the radium emanation, and is therefore known as radium G.—Polonium rays. See ray.
- n. a chemical element (symbol Po) with atomic number 84.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Chem.) A radioactive chemical element, discovered by M. and MMe. Curie in pitchblende, and originally called
radium F. It has atomic number 84 and an atomic weight of 210. It is a very rare natural element, having an abundance in uranium ores only 0.2% that of radium. It is closely related chemically to bismuth. It emits only alpha rays, and has a half-life of 138 days. It is thus more unstable than radium, and a milligram of polonium emits as many alpha particles as 5 grams of radium. Twenty-seven isotopes are known, with atomic masses from 192 to 218. At present a more practical method of preparation than isolation from ores is the preparation by neutron bombardment of bismuth in a nuclear reactor, and it may be obtained commercially by users having an appropriate permit.
- n. a radioactive metallic element that is similar to tellurium and bismuth; occurs in uranium ores but can be produced by bombarding bismuth with neutrons in a nuclear reactor
- New Latin Polonia ("Poland") (Wiktionary)
- From Medieval Latin Polōnia, Poland (the native country of Pierre and Marie Curie, the element's discoverers). (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“In the absence of any other option, the woman who was one of the most distinguished experts in polonium preparations eventually spent October through December of 1938 in Sweden, working on oceanography. 170 Her close friend Gleditsch offered her another temporary solution.”
“I have now managed to get Meyer to write a letter to Curie asking to send one of our scientists, Frau Doctor Rona, chemist and specialist in polonium, to her lab for three weeks in order to learn the art from Irene Curie ...”
“Elisabeth Rona, one of the female experimenters who worked at the institute and who specialized in polonium preparations, seemed to be one of the few who had a clear sense of how hazardous radiation could be.”
“We found that pitchblende contains at least two radioactive materials, one of which, accompanying bismuth, has been given the name polonium, while the other, paired with barium, has been called radium.”
“It is the triggers in these devices that need the maintenance, which is a re supply of a nuclear chemical called polonium 210.”
“Eight years later, one of them did die: Alexander Litvinenko, poisoned in London last November by a rare radioactive isotope called polonium 210.”
“Remember the case of the former Russian spy that was murdered in London with that highly radioactive substance called polonium 210?”
“NEWTON: What actually got him, investigators say, is a rare radioactive element called polonium-210.”
“MATTINGLY: But, as Russian authorities pledged cooperation, British health officials revealed, Litvinenko was killed by a highly lethal radioactive substance called polonium 210.”
“Twenty-two days later, Alexander Litvinenko died in a London hospital, his organs ravaged by a rare radioactive isotope called polonium 210.”
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