a radioactive, nonmetallic chemical element formed naturally by the disintegration of radium or synthetically by the neutron irradiation of bismuth followed by beta decay: used as a power source in space satellites, as an aid in inducing electric discharges, etc.: symbol, Po; at. no. 84
Origin of poloniumModL: so named (1898) by its co-discoverer Marie Curie, after her native land, Poland (ML Polonia) + -ium
A radioactive metallic element, occurring naturally in small quantities as a product of radium disintegration and produced synthetically by bombarding bismuth or lead with neutrons. Most isotopes decay by alpha-particle emission; the most stable are Po-208 and Po-209, with half-lives of 2.9 years and 102 years, respectively. Po-210, with a half-life of 138.4 days, is the most readily available isotope and is extremely toxic. Atomic number 84; melting point 254°C; boiling point 962°C; specific gravity 9.20; valence 2, 4, 6. See Periodic Table.
Origin of poloniumFrom Medieval Latin Pol&omacron;nia, Poland (the native country of Pierre and Marie Curie, the element's discoverers).
- A chemical element (symbol Po) with atomic number 84.