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Harold Clayton Urey

Urey, Harold Clayton (yŏrˈē) [key], 1893–1981, American chemist, b. Walkerton, Ind., grad. Univ. of Montana (B.S., 1917), Ph.D. Univ. of California, 1923. He taught at Johns Hopkins (1924–29), at Columbia (1929–45; as head of the department of chemistry from 1939 to 1942), and at the Univ. of Chicago (1945–58). He became professor-at-large at the Univ. of California in 1958. For his isolation of deuterium (heavy hydrogen) he received the 1934 Nobel Prize in Chemistry; he later isolated heavy isotopes of oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and sulfur. During World War II, Urey took part in the research leading to the production of the atomic bomb; his special work was on methods of separating uranium isotopes and the production of heavy water. With A. E. Ruark he wrote Atoms, Molecules, and Quanta (1930).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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