1899,1902 Actinium

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Paris, BrunswickAndré-Louis Debierne, Friedrich Oskar Giesel elements Actinium


Debierne found a new element, actinium, in the pitchblende residues that Marie and Pierre Curie had left after extracting radium. Giesel thought he had found in pitchblende a different element, emanium. Debierne had not determined its atomic weight and said actinium was similar to titanium, whereas emanium was similar to lanthanum.

Atomic number 89

It’s hot, it’s toxic, and it’s not cheap. Tell me privately how many milligrams you need and I’ll ask around. I wouldn’t plan on it being a long-term investment.


If you were to see a single hand clapping in a forest and told no one about it, then the second person to discover it would become famous, not you. If you accidentally discovered an antigravitational ceramic and thoughtlessly let it go, then who wouldn’t think you had lost your mind? Inventors and scientists famous artists, famous writers, must not only have intelligence and creativity, but also the will and ability to sell their work. No. I believe that for recognition in the sciences and arts, there are no solid certainties. Assuming that you know what you want, no one can tell you how to do it.

As an idealist, I believe that business ability doesn’t always trump genius. André-Louis Debierne was a student of Pierre Curie and a collaborator of Marie Curie after Pierre died. Friedrich Oskar Giesel worked in a factory and sold radium compounds.

See also in The book of science:

Readings in wikipedia:

Other readings:

  • Actinium,” Elementymology & Elements Multidict, by Peter van der Krogt