Glenn T. Seaborg

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Ishpeming, Michigan
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Ishpeming, Michigan

Glen T. Seaborg was a Swedish-American nuclear chemist who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for finding “plutonium.” He shared the prize with Edwin M. McMillan, who was also a scientist. Before that, people thought that Uranium was the heaviest metal on the Periodic Table. He and others worked together to find the “trans-uranium elements,” which included “element 94” and more than a thousand other isotopes that changed the Periodic table made by Dmitry Mendeleev in 1869. He came up with the “actinide concept” about the electronic structure of heavy elements, which showed how the actinides relate to other elements in the Periodic table. Seaborg and his team found nine more “transuranium elements,” including americium, berkelium, curium, californium, fermium, einsteinium, nobelium, and mendelevium. In his honor, the ninth element, called “element 106,” was given the name “seaborgium.” This was the first time that an element was named after a living person. He was known for his basic research in nuclear chemistry, but he also cared a lot about science education and worked hard to support it. He found radioactive elements like cobalt-60 and iodine-131, which are used to treat diseases that can kill people. Ten Presidents, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George H. W. Bush, asked him for advice.

Early years and childhood

Glen T. Seaborg was born on April 19, 1912, in Ishpeming, Michigan.
Herman Theodore Seaborg was his father, and Olivia Erickson Seaborg was his mother. He had a sister named Jeanette who was two years younger than him.

In 1929, he graduated from Los Angeles’s David Starr Jordan High School.
In 1929, he went to the University of California at Los Angeles, and in 1934, he got his B.A. in chemistry.
In 1937, the University of California, Berkeley gave him a Ph.D. in chemistry.

Gleen Seaborg’s Career

From 1937 to 1939, Glen Seaborg worked as a lab assistant for Gilbert N. Lewis at the University of California at Berkeley. He and physicist Jack Livingood were able to isolate iodine-131, which is used to treat thyroid problems.
In 1939, he was hired as a chemistry teacher at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1941, he was made an assistant professor, and in 1945, he was made a professor.

With the help of his colleagues Joseph Kennedy, Edwin McMillan, and Arthur Wahl, he found “element 94,” which was later called “plutonium.” This was in 1940.
From 1941 to 1955, he and his colleagues found nine more new elements with atomic numbers 95 through 102 and 106.

On August 20, 1942, Seaborg, Louis B. Werner, and Burris B. Cunningham were the first to find plutonium on their own.
During the Second World War, he was in charge of the part of the “Manhattan Project” that dealt with plutonium at the “Chicago University Metallurgical Laboratory.”

At the Clinton Engineering Works pilot plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and then at the Hanford Engineering Works in Richland, Washington, his team isolated, separated, and concentrated plutonium for use in the atomic bomb.
In 1946, he went back to the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, which was run by the University of California for the Atomic Energy Commission. From 1954 to 1961, he was the lab’s Associate Director.

In 1954, the “Atomic Energy Commission” put him on the board of the first “General Advisory Committee,” which he served on until 1960.

He was named “Chancellor of the University of California” in 1958 and held that position until 1961.
He helped start the “Berkley Space Sciences Laboratory” in 1959.
From 1959 to 1961, he was on the “President’s Science Advisory Committee.”

President Kennedy put Seaborg in charge of the “Atomic Energy Commission” in 1961, a position he held until 1971.
In 1968, he laid the foundation for the “Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.”
In 1971, Seaborg went back to the “University of California” at Berkeley as a professor and also as an associate director-at-large of the “Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.”

In 1972, he was President of the “American Association for the Advancement of Science,” and in 1976, he was President of the “American Chemical Society.”
From 1984 to 1999, he was the head of the Lawrence Hall of Science.

As a member of the “National Commission on Excellence in Education,” he released the report “A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform” in 1983.

Works of note

The Transuranium Elements and Man-Made Transuranium Elements are two books by Glenn T. Seaborg that came out in 1958 and 1963, respectively.

In 1972, the book “Nuclear Milestones: A Collection of Speeches by Glenn T. Seaborg” came out.
In 1998, a book called “A Chemist in the White House: From the Manhattan Project to the End of the Cold War” came out.

Awards & Achievements

In 1947, the “American Chemical Society” gave Glenn Seaborg the “Award in Pure Chemistry.”
In 1948, the “American Society of Swedish Engineers” gave him the “John Ericsson Gold Medal,” and the “New York section of the Society of Chemical Industry” gave him the “Nichols Medal.”

In 1951, he was given the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
In 1953, the “City of Philadelphia” gave him the “John Scott Award and Medal.”

In 1957, the “American Section of the Society of Chemical Industry” gave him the “Perkin Medal.”
In 1959, the AEC gave him the “Enrico Fermi Award.”

In 1963, the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia gave him the “Franklin Medal.”
In 1991, he was given the “National Medal of Science.”

In 1962, the “Vasa Order of America, Stockholm” named him “Swedish American of the Year.”
In 1987, the “Glenn T. Seaborg Medal” was created to recognize scientists for their work in biochemistry and chemistry.

He got many honorary Doctor of Science degrees from places like the University of Denver (1951), Gustavus Adolphus College (1954), North-Western University (1954), University of Notre Dame (1961), Ohio State University, Florida State University, University of Maryland (1961), Temple University, Georgetown University, the University of the State of New York (1962), Mundelein College, Trinity College (1962). (1963).

In 1962, the “Northern Michigan College,” the “George Washington University,” and the “University of Puget Sound” all gave him degrees: “Doctor of Humane Letters,” “Doctor of Public Service,” and “Doctor of Public Administration.”
In 1962, he got his “Doctor of Laws” from the “University of Michigan.” In 1963, he got his “Doctor of Laws” from the “University of Massachusetts.”

Personal History and Legacies

In 1942, he married Ernest O. Lawrence’s secretary, Helen Griggs. They had six children, Peter, Lynne, David, Stephen, Eric, and Dianne.

Glen Seaborg died on February 25, 1999, in Lafayette, California. He had complications from a stroke he had in August 1998 at a meeting of the “American Chemical Society.”

His Humanitarian Work

Glenn T. Seaborg fought for the peaceful use of atomic energy and was against testing nuclear weapons. Even though he helped make the atomic bomb, he didn’t want it to be used on Japanese civilians.

Estimated Net worth

Glenn T. Seaborg is thought to have a net worth of $4 million, most of which comes from his work as a nuclear scientist, university professor, and chemist. We don’t know enough about Glenn T. Seaborg’s house, cars, or lifestyle.


Glen T. Seaborg liked sports, and in 1958, he helped start the “Athletic Association of Western Universities.”
He has the longest entry in ‘Who’s Who in America,’ which is why his name is in the Guinness Book of World Records.