Glenn T. Seaborg as an exemplary chemical educator

Glenn T. Seaborg
as an Exemplary
Chemical Educator
Lester R. Morss
American Chemical Society
244th National Meeting
August 19, 2012
Periodic Table, 1898
From W. Ostwald, Grundriss der Allgemeine Chemie, 1898
History of Actinide Elements
• Uranium: discovered by Klaproth, 1789
• Thorium: discovered by Berzelius, 1829
• Actinium: what is now known to be 227Ac was discovered by
Debierne (1900) or Giesel (1902)
• Protactinium: what is now known to be 234mPa was discovered by
Fajans and Göring as “brevium”, 1913
• Enrico Fermi received Nobel Prize in 1938 for “transuranium
elements” that were soon found to be fission products
• Neptunium: 239Np discovered by McMillan and Abelson, 1940
• Plutonium: 238Pu discovered by Seaborg et al., 1940-1941
• Americium: 241Am discovered by Seaborg et al., 1944-1945
• Curium: 242Cm discovered by Seaborg et al., 1944
• Actinide hypothesis (filling the 5f subshell): Seaborg, 1944;
announced 1945
GTS in Berkeley, 1941
GTS with Periodic Table and Ion Exchange Column, May 1950
Production of transplutonium elements by slow-neutron irradiation
Nuclear reaction sequence for production of transplutonium
elements by intense slow-neutron irradiation. The principal path is
shown by heavy arrows (horizontal, neutron capture; vertical,
beta decay). The sequence above 258Fm is a prediction.
Periodic Table, 1951
Academic Career of Glenn T. Seaborg
• AB Chemistry, UCLA 1934
• PhD UC Berkeley with Gibson 1937
– Thesis: The Interaction of Fast Neutrons with Lead
Research assistant for G. N. Lewis, 1937-39
Instructor, 1939-40
Assistant professor, 1940Section leader, Manhattan Project 1942-6
Professor, 1946-1999
What defines a chemical educator?
Classroom teaching
Education of graduate students
Curricular innovations
Service on advisory panels that improve
• Mentoring junior colleagues
• Leadership in professional organizations
• Textbooks and monographs
Seaborg as chemical educator
• Chaired a panel of President Eisenhower's Science Advisory Committee to
study the integration of basic research with graduate science education, 1958
– The “Seaborg Report” provided blueprint for American basic research for the next 25 years
• Chair, Chemical Education Material Study (CHEM Study), 1960
– Developed new teaching materials for high school chemistry
President, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1972
President, American Chemical Society, 1976
Director, Lawrence Hall of Science, 1982-1984
Co-chair with Secretary of Energy James D. Watkins at a summit conference
on pre-college science and math education, 1989.
– Report issued on May 22, 1990
• Appointed by California Governor Pete Wilson as Chairman of the Science
Committee of the California Commission for the Establishment of Academic
Content and Performance Standards, 1998.
Announcement of discovery of Am and Cm
Glenn T. Seaborg and Quiz Kids Sheila Conlon and Bob Burke when Seaborg
informally announces the discovery of element 95 (americium) and element 96
(curium) in Chicago on the radio show “Quiz Kids” on Nov 11, 1945.
LBNL photo XBD9611-05600.TIF
Anecdotal evidence
• Katz, “Early Days in the ‘Met Lab’ ” paper in
Transuranium Elements: A Half Century, 1990
• William Jolly, From Retorts to Lasers, 1987
• Patrick Coffey, Cathedrals of Science, 2008
• Ken Moody
• Lester Morss
Lester Morss
• AB Chemistry and Physics, Harvard, 1961
• PhD UC Berkeley with B B Cunningham, 1969
– Thesis: Crystallography and Thermochemistry of
Chlorocomplex Compounds of Lanthanides and Actinides
• Postdoctoral, J. W. Cobble, Purdue, 1969-71
• Assistant and associate professor, Rutgers
University, 1971-80
• Chemist and senior chemist, Argonne, 19802002
• Program manager, DOE Office of Basic Energy
Sciences, 2002-1010
• C&E News cover January 8, 1968
Cunningham in Berkeley laboratory, 1956
Morss, Cunningham, Seaborg, and Katz
• Morss met Seaborg during AEC chair’s Berkeley visit
• Cunningham died March 28, 1971
– Seaborg writes to Morss, offering to be surrogate mentor
• Seaborg invited Morss to author chapter in The
Chemistry of the Actinide Elements, 2nd ed.
– Submits chapter 1978
• Morss met Katz at Argonne 1980
Became third editor of The Chemistry of the Actinide Elements, 2nd ed.
Mentored by Katz in editing many chapters
Frequent meetings with Katz and Seaborg at ACS meetings
2nd edition of The Chemistry of the Actinide Elements published 1986
• Plans for 3rd edition of The Chemistry of the Actinide
Elements through August 1998
Katz publications with Seaborg
• G. T. Seaborg, J. J. Katz, and W. M. Manning, (eds.) (1949)
The Transuranium Elements: Research Papers, Natl. Nucl. En.
Ser., Div. IV, 14B, McGraw‐Hill.
• Glenn T. Seaborg and Joseph J. Katz (eds.), The Actinide
Elements, McGraw-Hill, 1954.
• Joseph J. Katz and Glenn T. Seaborg, The Chemistry of the
Actinide Elements, Methuen, 1957.
• Joseph J. Katz, Glenn T. Seaborg, and Lester R. Morss (eds.),
The Chemistry of the Actinide Elements, 2nd ed., 2 vols.,
Chapman & Hall, 1986.
– 3rd and 4th editions: Morss, Fuger, Edelstein (eds.) The Chemistry of the Actinide
and Transactinide Elements, 2006 (5 vols) and 2010 (6 vols)
Dedication of The Chemistry of the Actinide Elements, 3rd ed.
Seaborg, “Prospects for Further Extension of the Periodic Table,” J. Chem. Ed. 46, 626 (1969)
Table of Isotopes: Island of Stability
The Chemistry of the Actinide and Transactinide Elememts (2006) Fig. 14.24. Plot of heavy element topology
showing landing points for proposed reactions. Heavy element isotopes reported since 1978 up to mid‐2002 are
indicated with symbols denoting half‐life ranges: 0.1 ms to 0.1 s (+); 0.1 s to 5 min (○); > 5 min ().
Chart of nuclides above berkelium (Z = 97), July 2012
E M Ramirez et al. Science, July 2012: science.1225636. fig 1
Published by AAAS
Glenn Seaborg with CSEE students at LBNL Bldg 50
CSEE: Center for Science and Engineering Education at LBNL
Professor Burris Bell Cunningham
Cunningham’s Salvioni balance
First weighed sample of PuO2: 2.77 μg, Sept 10, 1942

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