150th Celebration

William Crowell Bray

March 30, 2020

William Crowell Bray

By G. E. K. Branch, A. R. Davis, and J. H. Hildebrand

William Crowell Bray, Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, died February 24, 1946, after he had apparently been recuperating from an illness...

Melvin Calvin

March 28, 2020

Melvin Calvin

By Les Prix Nobel edited by Nobel Lectures

Melvin Calvin was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, April 8, 1911, of Russian emigrant parents. He received the B.S. degree in Chemistry in 1931 at the...

Plutonium: The scary element that helps probe space's secrets

June 28, 2021

Atomic bomb being dropped on Nagasaki, WWII

Plutonium may be the most feared and fearsome substance in the entire periodic table. Photo: via BBC News

This story first appeared in the BBC News Magazine September 20, 2014.

It's best known as the main ingredient of atomic bombs like the infamous Fat Man, dropped on Nagasaki on 9 August 1945,...

Ernest Lawrence's cyclotron:
 Invention for the ages

May 26, 2021

Ernest O. Lawrence, Glenn T. Seaborg, and J. Robert Oppenheimer in early 1946

Ernest O. Lawrence, Glenn T. Seaborg, and J. Robert Oppenheimer in early 1946 at the controls to the magnet of the 184-inch cyclotron, which was being converted from its wartime use to its original purpose as a cyclotron. (archive...

Harold Urey was not a fan of the atomic bomb he helped develop

August 6, 2020

Harold Urey, 1940s

Urey at his desk, photograph, circa late 1940s (Northwest Indiana Times)

Missoula first noticed Harold Urey in May of 1915, when the University of Montana announced the winners of the annual C.A. Duniway Scholarship Books.
Urey, a 22-year-old freshman from Indiana by way of a mining camp in the Gallatin Mountains, received the biology award....

In Memoriam - Mitchel Ming-Chi Shen

May 5, 2020

Mitchel Shen (1938-1979) Professor of Chemical Engineering

Mitchel Shen, undated photograph

Following a brief illness, Mitchel Shen passed away on August 7, 1979, at the early age of forty and at the peak of his career. The students and faculty at Berkeley will miss an inspirational teacher and dedicated colleague, and the field of polymer science has lost...

David Chandler, pillar of physical chemistry, dies at the age of 72

April 26, 2017

Prof. Philip Geissler and the late Prof. David ChandlerDavid Chandler, pillar of the physical chemistry scientific community and Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley, died April 18, 2017 at the age of 72 at his home in Berkeley, CA after a valiant twenty-year battle with prostate cancer.

Henry Frederick Schaefer, III

March 27, 2020

Henry Frederick Schaefer III

By T. Daniel Crawford

Henry Frederick ‘Fritz’ Schaefer III was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on 8 June 1944, one of three children of Henry F. Schaefer, Jr and Janice Christine Trost. Fritz's parents were both...

William A Lester, Jr., Ph.D. Gets the Star Treatment!

April 2, 2021

Professor Emeritus William A Lester, Ph.D. has participated in The Star Treatment, a prestigious video series hosted by renowned lawyer and television personality, Star Jones.

Dr. Lester, a professor emeritus at the Department of Chemistry at the University of California Berkeley, is no stranger to hard work and dedication. His work has inspired generations of students to love science and strive for excellence. Dr. Lester's journey as a scientist began as an outgrowth of "radio-only" entertainment - he was intrigued by a commercial for DuPont, which stated, "Better things,...

A very strong magnet: QB3-Berkeley’s 900 MHz NMR Facility

March 29, 2021

Graduate student Riley Fricke sits down with Jeff Pelton (Ph.D. '90, Chem) the manager of QB3-Berkeley’s 900 MHz NMR Facility, to discuss the facility and recent research that NMR spectroscopy has helped support.

Jeff Pelton

Jeff Pelton, PhD, the NMR facility manager.

The 900 MHz NMR was installed in 2006 and...