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Boys' Second Book of Inventions
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Professor and Madame Curie, who discovered radium, now possess the largest amount of any one, but there are small quantities in the hands of English and German scientists, and perhaps a dozen specimens in America, one owned by the American Museum of Natural History and several by Mr. W. J. Hammer, of New York, who was the first American to experiment with the rare and precious substance. M. Curie Explaining the Wonders of Radium at the Sorbonne. And perhaps it is just as well, at first, not to have too much radium, for besides being wonderful it is also dangerous. If a pound or two could be gathered in a mass it would kill every one who came within its influence. People might go up and even handle the white powder without at the moment feeling any ill-effects, but in a week or two the mysterious and dreadful radium influence would begin to take effect. Slowly the victim's skin would peel off, his body would become one great sore, he would fall blind, and finally die of paralysis and congestion of the spinal cord. Even the small quantities now in hand have severely burned the experimenters. Professor Curie himself has a number of bad scars on his hands and arms due to ulcers caused by handling radium. And Professor Becquerel, in journeying to London, carried in his waistcoat pocket a small tube of radium to be used in a lecture there.
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