Marie Curie of France
Not necessary for life.
Named after the country of Poland, polonium is a radioactive, silvery-gray metal. It easily reacts with acids, and is very volatile–it will evaporate over time. Polonium glows blue and becomes very warm due to its radioactivity. It is used as a heat and thermoelectric power source in satellites. When alloyed with beryllium, it produces neutrons and is used as a neutron source. Polonium has the most isotopes of any element, and is very dangerous owing to its high radioactivity. The most stable isotope of polonium has a half-life of 102 years.
Polonium has no known biological use.
Role in Life Processes
No known benefit for life processes in plants and animals.
Polonium is a decay product of uranium. It is found in minute amounts in uranium ore. It is artificially created by bombarding bismuth with neutrons. Worldwide production of polonium amounts to only a few hundred grams a year.