150th Chemistry

John Gofman: Medical school to nuclear chemistry at UC Berkeley

August 5, 2021

Excerpt from "John ‘Jack’ Gofman. Researcher and Social Activist. ‘Fair-haired Boy’ and ‘Enemy Within’" American Journal of Cardiology,

John Gofman at Berkeley Lab

John Gofman circa 1950 at the...

In honor of Ahmed Zewail (1946-2016)

August 8, 2016

Charles Harris with Ahmed Zewail (left to right)To appreciate the magnitude of the advance that Zewail introduced to chemistry, one has to ponder the minuteness of the time intervals that he could routinely employ with his special lasers: a femtosecond is a millionth of a billionth of a second. It is one second divided by ten to the power of fifteen.

In memoriam: Alum Harvey Itano and the journey to sickle cell research

July 13, 2021

Harvey Itano photographed by Dorethea Lange

Image: Harvey Akio Itano, 21, 1942 graduate from the University of California where he received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry degree. He was chosen by the faculty as University Medalist for 1942 and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi. Mr. Itano went to the Japanese Assembly center prior to...

John Maxson Stillman

July 25, 2021

Excerpt from biography by F.O. Koenig in Isis, Vol. 34, No. 2 (Autumn, 1942), pp. 142-146

John Maxsom Stillman

Photo of Stillman from Stanford University archivev collection. Approx date 1897....

In Memoriam: Norman Edgar Phillips

July 20, 2021

Norman E. PhillipsNorman's photo for the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation award, 1963.

Norman Phillips, Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, (1928-2019) was born December 20, 1928 in Detroit, Michigan. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry from the University of British Columbia in 1949 and 1950, followed by the Ph.D., also...

Alum Kaoru "Kay" Inouye's internment and military story

July 13, 2021

Kaoru Inouye teaches chemistry at Heart Mountain, World War II

Scene in the Chemistry class at the Heart Mountain High School, as Kaoru Inouye, instructor, is showing student Sumi Tam[...] a step in one of the Chemistry experiments. Photographer: Iwasaki, Hikaru; Heart Mountain, Wyoming. War Relocation Authority...

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...