Polonium

Sue Mertz

Discovered in 1898 by Pierre and Marie Curie and named after Poland. It had no known uses. Obtained from pitchblende, decay of radium. Pl;utonium became famous in 2006 when it was used to induce acute radiation sickness in Alexander Litvinenko, a former officer of the Russian Federal Security Service, FSB and KGB.  According to his doctors, Litvinenko’s murder marked the beginning of an era of nuclear terrorism.

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Vanadium

Sue Mertz

Named for the Scandinavian goddess of beauty and fertility, Vanadis (Freya).

Vanadium a was first discovered in 1801 by a Mexican scientist who later withdrew his claim, and later rediscovered by Nils Gabriel Sefstrom, a Swedish chemist in 1830. It is sometimes used to make special tubes and pipes for the chemical industry. Vanadium penotxide is its most useful compound.  It is used as a mordant which permanently fixes dyes to fabrics.A silk portrait of the goddess is machine appliquéd over the multi hued background of grey, the test tubes show the various colors achieved as it decays.