Caesium, also spelt caesium, is a member of the alkali family of elements and, according to ChemistryExplained.com, it is the most active of all the metals. Discovered in 1861 by German chemists Fustov Kirchoff and Robert Wilhelm Eberhard von Bunsen, caesium was named after the Latin word "caesius," which means "sky blue," due to the bright blue colour this metal emits when burnt. This alkaline metal now serves many purposes in several industries across the globe.
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According to the Mineral Information Institute, Cesium-137 is radioactive and often used in radiation therapy to treat various forms of cancer. Business Wire reported in 2010 that the FDA cleared the use of Cesium-131 for radiation therapy for breast, brain, prostate, colon, lung and ocular melanoma cancers, and is being used in more than 100 cancer treatment centres across the United States, as of 2011.
Atomic Clock Propulsion
One of cesium's most important uses is in the propulsion systems of atomic clocks, the most precise clocks for measuring time. Atomic clocks use Cesium-137 to measure time by monitoring the movements of the element's outer electrons, which give off radiation that vibrates at a constant speed when exposed to a beam of energy. The speed of these vibrations is measured and multiplied by 9,192,635,770 to determine the official speed of a second.
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