(Poland, native country of Mme. Curie) Polonium, also called Radium F, was the firstelement discovered by Mme. Curie in 1898 while seeking the cause of radioactivity ofpitchblend from Joachimsthal, Bohemia. The electroscope showed it separating with bismuth.
Polonium is a very rare natural element. Uranium ores contain only about 100 microgramsof the element per ton. Its abundance is only about 0.2% of that of radium.
In 1934, scientists discovered that when they bombarded natural bismuth (209Bi) withneutrons, 210Bi, the parent of polonium, was obtained. Milligram amounts of polonium maynow be prepared this way, by using the high neutron fluxes of nuclear reactors.
Polonium is available commercially on special order from the Oak Ridge NationalLaboratory.