Glenn T. Seaborg

  • From:

    University of California at Berkeley | Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory │ Berkeley, California

  • Year:

    1963

  • Subject:

    Physics

  • Award:

    Franklin

  • Citation:

    For nuclear science discoveries.

Glenn Theodore Seaborg was born in Ishpeming, Michigan in 1912. He entered the University of California, Los Angeles in 1929, and received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1937.

In 1939, Dr. Seaborg was appointed an instructor in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was promoted to Assistant Professor in 1941, and to Professor of Chemistry in 1945. In 1946, he also took responsibility for direction of nuclear chemical research at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory (LRL). In 1961, he was Associate Director of LRL, and in the same year, he was appointed by President Truman to be a member of the Atomic Energy Commission's first General Advisory Committee, a post he held until 1950. In 1958, he was appointed Chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley. In that capacity he served until his appointment by President Kennedy to the Atomic Energy Commission in 1961, when he was designated Chairman of the Commission. From 1959 to 1961, he was also a member of the President's Science Advisory Committee. Dr. Seaborg was given a leave of absence from the University of California from 1942-1946, during which period he headed the plutonium work of the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory.

Dr. Seaborg was co-discoverer of plutonium and all further transuranium elements through element 102. In addition to the discovery of transuranium elements, Dr. Seaborg and his colleagues are responsible for the identification of more than 100 isotopes of elements throughout the Periodic Table. He is also author of the actinide concept of heavy element electronic structure. In this connection, Dr. Seaborg demonstrated that the heavy elements form a "transition" series of actinide elements in a manner analogous to the rare-earth series of lanthanide elements. The concept demonstrated how the heavy elements fit into the Periodic Table and thus demonstrated their relationships to the other elements. In 1974, he co-discovered a new member of the transuranium family: element 106, named seaborgium in his honor. Dr. Seaborg was the only person to have an element named for him during his lifetime.

Information as of 1963