Glenn T. Seaborg
Contributions to Advancing Science
Resources with Additional
Courtesy of Lawrence Berkeley
"This is the greatest honor ever bestowed
upon me–even better, I think, than winning the Nobel Prize."
- Glenn T. Seaborg, about the naming of
Element 106 seaborgium, the first time an element was named for a living
Glenn T. Seaborg was born April 19, 1912, in Ishpeming, Michigan. He
was educated at the University of California (UC), Los Angeles (B.A.)
and the University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D.). "His life-long
association with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory [LBNL] began
in 1934 when, as a graduate student, he went to work at the UC Radiation
Laboratory (the forerunner to LBNL). He joined the UC Berkeley faculty
in 1939 and, following his time at the AEC [Atomic Energy Commission]
helm, returned to Berkeley where he continued his search for new elements
and isotopes." 1
In 1940, Seaborg, in collaboration with Edwin McMillan, Joseph Kennedy,
and Arthur Wahl, isolated plutonium (element 94). In 1941, he isolated
Uranium-233 and established thorium's nuclear fuel potential. "In
1944, Seaborg formulated the 'actinide concept' of heavy element electronic
structure which predicted that the actinides – including the first
eleven transuranium elements – would form a transition series analogous
to the rare earth series of lanthanide elements. Called one of the most
significant changes in the periodic table since Mendeleev's 19th century
design, the actinide concept showed how the transuranium elements fit
into the periodic table." 1
Courtesy of Lawrence Berkeley
Between 1944 and 1958, Seaborg identified eight elements – americium
(95), curium (96), berkelium (97), californium (98), einsteinium (99),
fermium (100), mendelevium (101), and nobelium (102). Element 106, seaborgium,
bears his name.
In 1951, Seaborg shared the Nobel
Prize in Chemistry with E.M. McMillan for "for their discoveries
in the chemistry of the transuranium elements". Between 1961 and
1971, Seaborg was the chairman of the AEC, a predecessor agency of the
Department of Energy (DOE). Seaborg was active in national
service, advising ten presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt through
George H. W. Bush. Seaborg died on February 25, 1999, at the age of
Additional information about Glenn Seaborg and his work is available
in full-text DOE reports and on the Web.
1959 Enrico Fermi Award
Seaborgium – The
106th element in the Periodic Table, named for Glenn T. Seaborg
Seaborg Medal – The Glenn T. Seaborg Medal was established in 1987
by the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to honor individuals
for their significant contributions to chemistry and biochemistry.
ANS Seaborg Medal – The American Nuclear Society (ANS) Seaborg Medal "recognizes exceptional achievement and excellence in science or engineering research in nuclear-related fields."
T. Seaborg Institute (GTSI) – was established in 1991 when the University
of California approved a joint Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
(LLNL)/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) Institute Charter.
In 1997, a branch
was established at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Currently each laboratory has its own on-site Seaborg institute. LLNL concentrates on nuclear and bionuclear science; LBNL focuses on the impact of radionuclides in the environment; and LANL stresses nuclear science studies of plutonium and heavier elements.
1991 National Medal of Science
The Glenn T. Seaborg
Center for Teaching and Learning Science and Mathematics – The mission
of the Glenn T. Seaborg Center is to enrich the knowledge and understanding
of the general public in the areas of science and mathematics, particularly
that of students and teachers from preschool through college.
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