Early ... Intro Picture

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Harold C. Urey



xxxx in 2000                              Harold Clayton Urey, (1893 - 1981), US chemist whose discovery of deuterium earned him the 1934 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

The son of a teacher and lay minister, Urey was educated at the University of Montana, where he studied zoology. His interest in chemistry was aroused during World War I, when he was working on the manufacture of war materials. After the war he spent a year studying under Niels Bohr in Copenhagen before beginning his academic career as an associate in chemistry at Johns Hopkins University in 1924. Thereafter he held a series of appointments at Columbia (1929-45), Chicago (1945-52), and La Jolla, California (1958-70).

Urey established his reputation in 1931 with his isolation of deuterium by fractional distillation. He continued to work on isotope separation and in 1937 was able to isolate nitrogen-15. This work was of considerable practical importance when it became necessary to separate large quantities of the rare isotope uranium-235 for use in the fission bomb and fission reactor. A variety of separation methods were investigated for this purpose. Urey was made responsible in 1942 for the gaseous diffusion approach, which turned out to be by far the most successful.

In 1951, with Stanley Miller (1930- ), he performed a classic series of experiments to demonstrate that an electric discharge in a sealed container of methane, ammonia, and water could yield a number of amino acids, the basic building blocks of proteins. The implications of their work on the origin of life are still being investigated.

This concise and readable biography was taken from :
http://www.xrefer.com/entry/171924 :
Who's Who in the Twentieth Century, Oxford University Press,
© Market House Books Ltd 1999

Photo: © nautilus.fis.uc.pt

From the photo in the headline I honestly do not recall the © reference.

Some Further Links (as of April 27, 2002) to Urey

Biography in French, encyclopedia, yahoo.com.

Harold Clayton Urey Papers from Univ. Calif., San Diego.

US National Academy Press - fairly long biography.

Biography from : The Manhattan Project Hall of Fame. An intersting link.

Biography - See a different photograph. © 1997 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

The Miller-Urey Experiment.

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Copyright © Apr. 27, 2002 by U. Anders, Ph.D.
e-mail Udo Anders : udo39@t-online.de

Last updated : Apr. 28, 2002 - 08:06 CET