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Encyclopedia > Harold Urey
Harold Urey, circa 1963.
Harold Urey, circa 1963.

Harold Clayton Urey (April 29, 1893January 5, 1981) was an American physical chemist whose pioneering work on isotopes earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1934 and later led him to theories of planetary evolution. Harold C. Urey From [history. ... Harold C. Urey From [history. ... April 29 is the 119th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (120th in leap years). ... Year 1893 (MDCCCXCIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... January 5 is the 5th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1981 (MCMLXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Physical chemistry is the study of the physical basis of chemical systems and processes. ... Isotopes are any of the several different forms of an element each having different atomic mass (mass number). ... This is a list of Nobel Prize laureates in Chemistry from 1901 to 2006. ...


Urey was born in Walkerton, Indiana to Reverend Samuel Clayton Urey and Cora Rebecca Riensehl. After briefly teaching in rural schools, Urey earned a degree in zoology from the University of Montana and a Ph.D. in chemistry, studying thermodynamics under Gilbert N. Lewis at the University of California, Berkeley. Walkerton is a town located in St. ... Zoology (rarely spelled zoölogy) is the biological discipline which involves the study of non-human animals. ... University of Montana The University of Montana campus, 1999. ... Thermodynamics (from the Greek θερμη, therme, meaning heat and δυναμις, dunamis, meaning power) is a branch of physics that studies the effects of changes in temperature, pressure, and volume on physical systems at the macroscopic scale by analyzing the collective motion of their particles using statistics. ... Lewis in the Berkeley Lab Gilbert Newton Lewis (October 23, 1875-March 23, 1946) was a famous American physical chemist. ... Sather tower (the Campanile) looking out over the San Francisco Bay and Mount Tamalpais. ...

At Berkeley, Urey was influenced by the work of physicist Raymond T. Birge and soon joined Niels Bohr in Copenhagen to work on atomic structure at the Institute for Theoretical Physics. On his return to the U.S. in 1924 he taught at Johns Hopkins University, and then at Columbia where he assembled a team of associates that included Rudolph Schoenheimer, David Rittenberg and T. I. Taylor. After completion of his text with Arthur Ruark, Atoms, Quanta and Molecules, one of the first English texts on quantum mechanics and its applications to atomic and molecular systems, Urey became interested in nuclear systematics. This led to his discovery of deuterium. ... Raymond Thayer Birge (March 13, 1887 - March 22, 1980) was a physicist. ... Niels (Henrik David) Bohr (October 7, 1885 – November 18, 1962) was a Danish physicist who made fundamental contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1922. ... For other uses, see Copenhagen (disambiguation). ... The Niels Bohr Institute is part of the Niels Bohr Institute for Astronomy, Physics and Geophysics of the University of Copenhagen. ... Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from... The Johns Hopkins University, founded in 1876, is a private institution of higher learning located in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. ... Rudolph Schoenheimer (May 10, 1898, - September 11, 1941) was a German/ US biochemist who developed the technique of isotope tagging of biomolecules, enabling detailed study of metabolism. ... David Rittenberg (November 11, 1906 — January 24, 1970) was a US biochemist who pioneered the radioactive tagging of molecules enabling detailed studies of metabolism. ... Arthur Edward Ruark (1899–1979) was an American physicist who actively played a role in the development of quantum mechanics. ... Deuterium, also called heavy hydrogen, is a stable isotope of hydrogen with a natural abundance in the oceans of Earth of approximately one atom in 6500 of hydrogen (~154 PPM). ...

During this time, Urey isolated deuterium by repeatedly distilling a sample of liquid hydrogen. In 1931, he and his associates went on to demonstrate the existence of heavy water. Urey was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1934 for this work. [1] Distillation is a means of separating liquids through differences in their boiling points. ... General Name, Symbol, Number hydrogen, H, 1 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 1, 1, s Appearance colorless Atomic mass 1. ... Heavy water is dideuterium oxide, or D2O or 2H2O. It is chemically the same as normal water, H2O, but the hydrogen atoms are of the heavy isotope deuterium, in which the nucleus contains a neutron in addition to the proton found in the nucleus of any hydrogen atom. ... This is a list of Nobel Prize laureates in Chemistry from 1901 to 2006. ...

During World War II, Urey's team at Columbia worked on a number of research programs that contributed towards the Manhattan Project to develop an atomic bomb for the United States. Most importantly, they developed the gaseous diffusion method to separate uranium-235 from uranium-238. In autumn 1941, Urey, with G. B. Pegram, led a diplomatic mission to England to establishing co-operation on development of the atomic bomb. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... The Manhattan Project resulted in nuclear weapons, and the first-ever nuclear detonation, at the Trinity test of July 16, 1945. ... The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan, 1945, rose some 18 km (11 mi) above the epicenter. ... Isotope separation is the process of concentrating specific isotopes of a chemical element by removing other isotopes, for example separating natural uranium into enriched uranium and depleted uranium. ... Uranium-235 is an isotope of uranium that differs from the elements other common isotope, uranium-238, by its ability to cause a rapidly expanding fission chain reaction. ... There are two objects with this name: Unterseeboot 238 Uranium-238, the most common isotope of uranium This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... George Braxton Pegram (October 24, 1876 - August 12, 1958) was a US physicist who played a key role in the technical administration of the Manhattan Project. ... Motto (French) God and my right Anthem God Save the King (Queen) England() – on the European continent() – in the United Kingdom() Capital (and largest city) London (de facto) Official languages English (de facto) Government Constitutional monarchy  -  Queen Queen Elizabeth II  -  Prime Minister Tony Blair MP Unification  -  by Athelstan 967  Area...

A humorous footnote: During this period, Urey once (during a class lecture) lamented - a bit too vehemently - that he was doing nothing for the War Effort. One of his students, Isaac Asimov, inquired innocently about the enriched uranium that was being kept at Columbia. Was that not related to the war effort? Urey reddened and changed the subject. [2] Dr. Isaac Asimov (January 2?, 1920? – April 6, 1992, IPA: , originally Исаак Озимов but now transcribed into Russian as Айзек Азимов) was a Russian-born American author and professor of biochemistry, a highly successful and exceptionally prolific writer best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. ...

After the war, he became professor of chemistry at the Institute for Nuclear Studies, then Ryerson professor of chemistry at the University of Chicago before progressing to honorific offices at the University of California, San Diego. A UCSD building was named in his honor in the early 1960s, during a time when nearly all buildings other than student dormitories had only generic names. The Institute for Nuclear Studies was founded September, 1945 as part of the University of Chicago with Samuel King Allison as director. ... {{Infobox_University |image_name= Chicago_Seal. ... The University of California, San Diego (popularly known as UCSD, or sometimes UC San Diego) is a public, coeducational university located in La Jolla, California. ...

In later life, Urey helped develop the field of cosmochemistry and is credited with coining the term. His work on oxygen-18 led him to develop theories about the abundance of the chemical elements on earth and of their abundance and evolution in the stars. This work was among the pioneering paleoclimatic research. Urey summarised his work in the book The Planets: Their Origin and Development (1952). Urey speculated that the early terrestrial atmosphere was probably composed of ammonia, methane and hydrogen; it was one of his Chicago graduate students, Stanley L. Miller, who showed that, if such a mixture be exposed to ultraviolet radiation and to water, it can interact to produce amino acids, commonly called the "building blocks of life" (see Miller-Urey experiment). Cosmochemistry is concerned with the origin and development of the elements and their isotopes in the universe. ... Oxygen-18 is a natural, stable isotope of oxygen and one of the environmental isotopes. ... The abundance of a chemical element measures how common the element is, or how much of the element there is. ... The abundance of a chemical element measures how common the element is, or how much of the element there is. ... Layers of Atmosphere - not to scale (NOAA)[2] Earths atmosphere is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth and retained by the Earths gravity. ... Ammonia is a compound with the formula NH3. ... Methane is a chemical compound with the molecular formula CH4. ... General Name, Symbol, Number hydrogen, H, 1 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 1, 1, s Appearance colorless Atomic mass 1. ... Stanley L. Miller (born 1930) is an American chemist famous for his role in the Miller-Urey experiment he performed in 1953, while a graduate student. ... Note: Ultraviolet is also the name of a 1998 UK television miniseries about vampires. ... In chemistry, an amino acid is any molecule that contains both amino and carboxylic acid functional groups. ... The Miller-Urey experiment attempts to recreate the chemical conditions of the primitive Earth in the laboratory, and synthesized some of the building blocks of life. ...

Urey died at La Jolla, California, and is buried in the Fairfield Cemetery in DeKalb County, Indiana. One of the beaches at La Jolla Cove La Jolla, California, is a seaside resort community comprised of 42,808[1] residents within the city of San Diego. ... DeKalb County is a county located in the U.S. state of Indiana. ...

Apart from his Nobel Prize, he also won the J. Lawrence Smith Medal in 1962, the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1966, and the Priestley Medal of the American Chemical Society in 1973. Named after him are lunar impact crater Urey, asteroid 4716 Urey and the H. C. Urey Prize, awarded for achievement in planetary sciences by the American Astronomical Society. A Harold C. Urey chair has been established at UCSD, whose first holder is Dr. James R. Arnold. The Harold C. Urey Middle School in Walkerton, Indiana, is also named for him, as is Urey Hall, the chemistry building at Revelle College, UCSD, in La Jolla, California. (The actual name of the building is "Freida and Harold Urey Hall" because the naming committee worried that Dr. Urey might reject the honor, but knew he could not decline an honor to his wife.) J. Lawrence Smith Medal is awarded by the National Academy of Sciences for investigations of meteoric bodies. ... Gold Medal awarded to Asaph Hall The Gold Medal is the highest award of the Royal Astronomical Society. ... The Priestley Medal is awarded by the American Chemical Society (ACS) for distinguished service in the field of chemistry. ... The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a learned society (professional association) based in the United States that supports scientific inquiry in the field of chemistry. ... Apparent magnitude: up to -12. ... Tycho crater on Earths moon. ... A portion of crater Urey and surroundings. ... The Harold C. Urey Prize is awarded annually by the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society. ... Planetary science, also known as planetology or planetary astronomy, is the science of planets, or planetary systems, and the solar system. ... The American Astronomical Society (AAS) is a US society of professional astronomers and other interested individuals, headquartered in Washington, DC. The main aim of the AAS is provide a political voice for its members and organise their lobbying. ... James R. Arnold (Jim Arnold) is a Cosmochemistry professor, now emeritus, at the University of California, San Diegos California Space Institute (CalSpace). ...

His Columbia University office in Havemayer is now used by Professor Brus of the Chemistry department. The corner of the blackboard in the office currently reads: "This office belonged to H.C. Urey, who discovered deuterium" Columbia University is a private research university in the United States. ...

External links

  • National Academy of Sciences biography
  • A biography
  • Annotated bibliography for Harold Urey from the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues


  1. ^ H. C. Urey, Ferdinand G. Brickwedde, G. M. Murphy (1932). "A Hydrogen Isotope of Mass 2". Physical Review 39: 164–165. DOI:10.1103/PhysRev.39.164. 
  2. ^ The Relativity of Wrong, an essay by Isaac Asimov which recounts his relationship with Professor Urey while Mr. Asimov was a student at Columbia University
  • Urey H. C., Lowenstam, H. A., Epstein S., McKinney, C. R. (1951). "Measurement of paleotemperatures and temperatures of the Upper Cretaceous of England, Denmark and the Southeastern United States". Geological Society of America Bulletin 62: 299. 

  Results from FactBites:
Harold Urey - MSN Encarta (224 words)
Harold Urey (1893-1981), American chemist and Nobel laureate, best known for his discovery of deuterium, or heavy hydrogen,
Harold Clayton Urey was born in Walkerton, Indiana, and educated at the universities of Montana and California.
Subsequently, he was director of war research in the atom-bomb project at Columbia University, where his group did the initial research on separating uranium-235, the fissionable isotope, from uranium-238, the more abundant isotope.
Harold Urey - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (591 words)
Harold Clayton Urey (April 29, 1893 – January 5, 1981) was a chemist whose pioneering work on isotopes earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1934 and later led him to theories of planetary evolution.
Urey was born in Walkerton, Indiana to Reverend Samuel Clayton Urey and Cora Rebecca Riensehl.
Urey died at La Jolla, California, and is buried in the Fairfield Cemetery in DeKalb County, Indiana.
  More results at FactBites »



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