Daily Bread for 12.21.15 – 2017

Good morning, Whitewater.

Monday brings precipitation, but not snow: we’ll have a rainy Monday morning in Whitewater, with a cloudy afternoon, and a high of forty-four. Sunrise is 7:22 and sunset 4;24, for 9h 01m 39s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 80.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1898, a nineteenth-century power couple makes a discovery:

Radium electroplated on a very small sample of copper foil and covered with polyurethane to prevent reaction with the air.
Radium electroplated on a very small sample of copper foil and covered with polyurethane to prevent reaction with the air.

Radium is a chemical element with symbol Ra and atomic number 88. It is the sixth element in group 2 of the periodic table, also known as the alkaline earth metals. Pure radium is almost colorless, but it readily combines with nitrogen (rather than oxygen) on exposure to air, forming a black surface layer of radium nitride (Ra3N2). All isotopes of radium are highly radioactive, with the most stable isotope being radium-226, which has a half-life of 1600 years and decays into radon gas (specifically the isotope radon-222). When radium decays, ionizing radiation is a product, which can excite fluorescent chemicals and cause radioluminescence…..

Radium was discovered by Marie Sklodowska-Curie and her husband Pierre Curie on 21 December 1898, in a uraninite sample.[14] While studying the mineral earlier, the Curies removed uranium from it and found that the remaining material was still radioactive. They separated out an element similar to bismuth from pitchblende in July 1898, that turned out to be polonium. They then separated out a radioactive mixture consisting mostly of two components: compounds of barium, which gave a brilliant green flame color, and unknown radioactive compounds which gave carmine spectral lines that had never been documented before. The Curies found the radioactive compounds to be very similar to the barium compounds, except that they were more insoluble. This made it possible for the Curies to separate out the radioactive compounds and discover a new element in them. The Curies announced their discovery to the French Academy of Sciences on 26 December 1898.[15][16] The naming of radium dates to about 1899, from the French word radium, formed in Modern Latin from radius (ray): this was in recognition of radium’s power of emitting energy in the form of rays.[17][18][19]

On 12.21.1879, brewing in Wisconsin experiences a setback:

1879 – Fire Destroys Phillip Brewing Company

On this date fire destroyed the Phillip Brewing Company’s malthouse, grain elevators and office building in Milwaukee. [Source: Pabst Brewery History]


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