Andrea Suihkonen, “Atomic Panacea: The Radium Fad of the Early 20th Century”



Radium- a revolutionary, Nobel Prize-winning element- was discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie in 1898. The element would soon find its way into homes across the world in various appliances and health products. The general public were convinced by opportunistic salespeople that the element was a cure-all for all of life’s ills. Beauty products, radon-infused water, and even wearing small pieces of radium in vials or other receptacles became a widespread fad. For a short while, it seemed that the public had found a cure-all. Then people started dying. Painfully and horribly. Before the United States entered the Second World War, the radium fad had decayed.



Andrea Suihkonen is a Senior-year student at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee majoring in History. She lives in Northern Minnesota and attends college online. Suihkonen plans on substitute-teaching through an on-call program after graduation. When not attending college, they enjoy knitting and spending time with their nephews.


“Atomic Panacea: The Radium Fad of the Early 20th Century”

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