The element curium is named after both Pierre and Marie Curie. The Curies discovered the elements polonium and radium; Marie was awarded the Nobel Prize for these discoveries in 1903. Curium was named in honor of their contributions to the field of radioactivity.
Curium is a radioactive solid metal. Its atomic symbol is Cm, and its atomic number is 96. It was produced by scientists working at UC-Berkeley in 1944 who bombarded plutonium-239 with alpha particles. Curium has only been produced in milligram amounts, so no commercial use has been discovered. Several compounds have been created by scientists, such as curium dioxide, curium chloride, curium iodide and curium bromide. These compounds are primarily used for basic research.