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Harold Clayton Urey Essay, Research Paper

Jikesh Patel


Block F

Harold c. Urey

Harold Clayton Urey was a scientist whose discovery of deuterium helped him win the Nobel Peace Prize for Chemistry in 1934. He also made fundamental contributions to the production of the atomic bomb through his development of the isotope separation processes for the Manhattan Project.

Harold Urey was born in Walkerton, Indiana, on April 29, 1893. His early school tool place in rural Indiana. He entered the University of Montana in 1914 and received his Bachelors of Science degree in Zoology in 1917. In 1921 he entered the university of California and was awarded a Pd. D in Chemistry in 1923.

Urey?s early researches concerned entropy of diatomic gases and problems of atomic structures, absorption spectra, and the structure of molecules. In 1931 he devised a method for the concentration of any possible heavy hydrogen isotopes by the fractional distillation of liquid hydrogen. This led to a discovery of deuterium. With Dr. E. W. Washburn, Urey evolved the electrolytic method for the separation of hydrogen isotopes and he carried out through investigations of their properties, in particular the vapor pressure of hydrogen and deuterium, and the equilibrium constants of exchange reactions. Later he worked on the separation of uranium isotopes and, more recently, he had been involved with the measurements of paleotemperatures, investigations into origin of the planets, and there chemical problems or the origin of their earth.

In 1931 Urey announced that he, George Murphy, and Ferdinand Brickwedde, has discovered the existence of heavy water, in which the molecules consist of an atom of oxygen and two atoms of heavy hydrogen or deuterium. The identification of deuterium has been called one of the foremost achievements of modern science. As the discovery of this isotope, Urey was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1934. Along with this achievement, Urey was awarded more than 20 honorary doctorates, over a dozen medals, and was a member of nearly 30 societies and academics.



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