„If one leaves a wooden or cardboard box containing a small glass ampulla with several centigrams of a radium salt in one’s pocket for a few hours, one will feel absolutely nothing. But 15 days afterwards a redness will appear on the epidermis, and then a sore which will be very difficult to heal. A more prolonged action could lead to paralysis and death. Radium must be transported in a thick box of lead.
It can even be thought that radium could become very dangerous in criminal hands, and here the question can be raised whether mankind benefits from knowing the secrets of Nature, whether it is ready to profit from it or whether this knowledge will not be harmful for it. The example of the discoveries of Nobel is characteristic, as powerful explosives have enabled man to do wonderful work. They are also a terrible means of destruction in the hands of great criminals who are leading the peoples towards war. I am one of those who believe with Nobel that mankind will derive more good than harm from the new discoveries.“
Nobel lecture (1905)