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 Edwin Mattison McMillan

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Edwin Mattison McMillan Famous memorial

Birth
Redondo Beach, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Death
7 Sep 1991 (aged 83)
El Cerrito, Contra Costa County, California, USA
Burial
El Cerrito, Contra Costa County, California, USA
Plot
Heian Garden, Row 18, Grave 45B
Memorial ID
224172605 View Source

Nobel Prize Recipient. Edwin Mattison McMillan, an American chemist, received notoriety after being awarded the 1951 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, sharing the award jointly with another American nuclear chemist, Glenn T. Seaborg. According to the Nobel Prize committee, the two men were given the coveted award "for their discoveries in the chemistry of the transuranium elements." Since 1947, he received eleven nominations for the Nobel candidacy. In 1959 he nominated Owen Chamberlain and Emilio Segre for the Nobel Prize in Physics and both were recipients. In 1940 he used a particle accelerator to radiate uranium with neutrons and proved that an element with an atomic number of 93 had been created, which was named neptunium. He also contributed to the mapping of additional heavy elements and isotopes. Born the only child of a physician, he became interested in science in high school and appreciated the free lectures offered by California Institute of Technology. Attending the California Institute of Technology, he earned his BS Degree in 1928 and his MS Degree in 1929. While still an undergraduate he published his first paper in chemistry on the X-ray study of alloys of lead and thallium. In 1932 he graduated from Princeton University with a PhD and received the coveted National Research Council (NRC) fellowship to support his research at any university or research institute in the country. At that point, he left for the University of California at Berkeley, studying under 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics Ernest Lawrence. Otto Stern, 1943 Nobel Prize in Physics recipient, published one of his papers while he was there. In 1934 he discovered Oxygen 15 with M. Stanley Livingston. In 1934 McMillan joined the staff of Lawrence’s Radiation Laboratory as a research associate and beginning in 1935, was simultaneously an instructor of physics at the University of California at Berkeley. Successively, he rose to assistant professor in 1935; even though on military leave, to associate professor in 1941; and to full professor in 1946. During World War II, he served in the United States Navy as a researcher at the Navy Radio and Sound Laboratory. From 1942 to 1943, he was a member of the Los Alamos Laboratory’s Project Y at Berkeley. From 1943 to 1944 , he was a leader of several projects at the Los Alamos Laboratory and a member of the Manhattan Project. After the war, he returned to Berkeley, taught undergraduate and graduate physics courses from 1946 to 1954, and supervised fifteen graduate students for Ph.D. degrees. He ceased teaching when he was appointed associate director of the Radiation Laboratory in 1954. He became deputy director after Dr. Ernest Lawrence’s death in August of 1958. He served at this position until his retirement in 1974. Even after his retirement, he participated in laboratory work, until he suffered the first of a series of strokes in 1984. He became a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1947. Besides the Nobel Prize, he received with humility the Research Corporation Scientific Award in 1951 and the Atoms for Peace Award, shared jointly with a Russian scientist, in 1963. In 1990 he received the nation’s highest civilian award, the National Medal of Science. On June 7, 1941 he married Elsie Walford Blumer, whose older sister, Mary Kimberly, was married to Dr. Ernest Lawrence. The couple had three children. His wife’s father was a British-born physician, who had been Dean at Yale University. His wife accompanied him to Los Alamos during World War II. He died from complications of diabetes and the many strokes.

Nobel Prize Recipient. Edwin Mattison McMillan, an American chemist, received notoriety after being awarded the 1951 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, sharing the award jointly with another American nuclear chemist, Glenn T. Seaborg. According to the Nobel Prize committee, the two men were given the coveted award "for their discoveries in the chemistry of the transuranium elements." Since 1947, he received eleven nominations for the Nobel candidacy. In 1959 he nominated Owen Chamberlain and Emilio Segre for the Nobel Prize in Physics and both were recipients. In 1940 he used a particle accelerator to radiate uranium with neutrons and proved that an element with an atomic number of 93 had been created, which was named neptunium. He also contributed to the mapping of additional heavy elements and isotopes. Born the only child of a physician, he became interested in science in high school and appreciated the free lectures offered by California Institute of Technology. Attending the California Institute of Technology, he earned his BS Degree in 1928 and his MS Degree in 1929. While still an undergraduate he published his first paper in chemistry on the X-ray study of alloys of lead and thallium. In 1932 he graduated from Princeton University with a PhD and received the coveted National Research Council (NRC) fellowship to support his research at any university or research institute in the country. At that point, he left for the University of California at Berkeley, studying under 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics Ernest Lawrence. Otto Stern, 1943 Nobel Prize in Physics recipient, published one of his papers while he was there. In 1934 he discovered Oxygen 15 with M. Stanley Livingston. In 1934 McMillan joined the staff of Lawrence’s Radiation Laboratory as a research associate and beginning in 1935, was simultaneously an instructor of physics at the University of California at Berkeley. Successively, he rose to assistant professor in 1935; even though on military leave, to associate professor in 1941; and to full professor in 1946. During World War II, he served in the United States Navy as a researcher at the Navy Radio and Sound Laboratory. From 1942 to 1943, he was a member of the Los Alamos Laboratory’s Project Y at Berkeley. From 1943 to 1944 , he was a leader of several projects at the Los Alamos Laboratory and a member of the Manhattan Project. After the war, he returned to Berkeley, taught undergraduate and graduate physics courses from 1946 to 1954, and supervised fifteen graduate students for Ph.D. degrees. He ceased teaching when he was appointed associate director of the Radiation Laboratory in 1954. He became deputy director after Dr. Ernest Lawrence’s death in August of 1958. He served at this position until his retirement in 1974. Even after his retirement, he participated in laboratory work, until he suffered the first of a series of strokes in 1984. He became a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1947. Besides the Nobel Prize, he received with humility the Research Corporation Scientific Award in 1951 and the Atoms for Peace Award, shared jointly with a Russian scientist, in 1963. In 1990 he received the nation’s highest civilian award, the National Medal of Science. On June 7, 1941 he married Elsie Walford Blumer, whose older sister, Mary Kimberly, was married to Dr. Ernest Lawrence. The couple had three children. His wife’s father was a British-born physician, who had been Dean at Yale University. His wife accompanied him to Los Alamos during World War II. He died from complications of diabetes and the many strokes.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Linda Davis
  • Added: 11 Mar 2021
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 224172605
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/224172605/edwin-mattison-mcmillan: accessed ), memorial page for Edwin Mattison McMillan (18 Sep 1907–7 Sep 1991), Find a Grave Memorial ID 224172605, citing Sunset View Cemetery, El Cerrito, Contra Costa County, California, USA; Maintained by Find a Grave .