Radium and its compounds had been industrially used since the first half of the century, in the production of glowing paints. These paints glow due to the presence of inorganic phosphorus compounds, excited by alpha particles emitted by radium. The required small amount of radium is extracted from uraninite, a uranium ore with radium residues.
Radium can also be used as neutron emitter in nuclear reactions. Can also be used in radiotherapy, due to the intense emission of gamma rays of daughter nuclei.
Radium is an important source of radon, the heaviest rare gas.