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The Life and Science of Harold C. Urey$
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Matthew Shindell

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226662084

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226662114.001.0001

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From Novice in Europe to Expert in America

From Novice in Europe to Expert in America

(p.63) Chapter Three From Novice in Europe to Expert in America
The Life and Science of Harold C. Urey

Matthew Shindell

University of Chicago Press

Harold C. Urey returned from Copenhagen knowing that he would be unable to make original contributions to quantum physics, but nonetheless able to read and explain the work coming out of Europe in this new field. He made a name for himself in America as an expert in quantum physics and as a pioneer in applying this knowledge to chemistry. This reputation was solidified by the publication of the book, Atoms, Molecules and Quanta, which he coauthored with Arthur E. Ruark. He also in these years had his first academic appointment at Johns Hopkins University, and his second appointment at Columbia University. At Columbia, Urey was able to perform experimental work that led to his discovery of an isotope of hydrogen with mass 2 -- Deuterium. This work was possible thanks to the help of his colleague Ferdinand Brickwedde at the US Bureau of Standards. This discovery won Urey the Nobel Prize.

Keywords:   quantum chemistry, Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, heavy hydrogen, deuterium, Arthur Ruark, Ferdinand Brickwedde

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