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Glenn T. Seaborg

. Seagorg in Lab

Of Swedish ancestry, Seaborg was born in Ishpeming, Michigan. As a boy, the family moved to a suburb of Los Angeles. He kept a daily journal from 1927 until he suffered a stroke in 1998. As a youth, Seaborg was both a devoted sports fan and an avid movie buff. He did not take an interest in science until his junior year at David Starr Jordan High School in Watts.
He graduated from Jordan in 1929 at the top of his class and received a bachelor's degree in chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1934.
While at UCLA, he was invited by his German professor to meet Albert Einstein, an experience that had a profound impact on Seaborg and served as a model of graciousness for his encounters with aspiring students in later years. Seaborg worked his way through school as a stevedore (longshoreman), fruit packer and laboratory assistant.


Glenn Theodore Seaborg (Swedish: Glenn Teodor Sjöberg) (1912 – 1999) won the 1951 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for "discoveries in the chemistry of the transuranium elements," contributed to the discovery and isolation of ten elements, developed the actinoids concept and was the first to propose the actinoids series which led to the current arrangement of the Periodic Table of the Elements.

He spent most of his career as an educator and research scientist at the University of California, Berkeley where he became the second Chancellor in its history and served as a University Professor.

Seaborg advised ten presidents from Truman to Clinton on nuclear policy and was the chairman of the United States Atomic Energy Commission from 1961 to 1971 where he pushed for commercial nuclear energy and peaceful applications of nuclear science. Throughout his career, Seaborg worked for arms control.

Seaborg was a well-known advocate for science education and federal funding for pure research. He was a key contributor to the report "A Nation at Risk" as a member of President Reagan's National Commission on Excellence in Education.

Seaborg was the principal or co-discoverer of ten elements: plutonium, americium, curium, berkelium, californium, Einsteinium, fermium, mendelevium, nobelium and element 106, which was named seaborgium in his honor while he was still living. He also developed more than 100 atomic isotopes, and is credited with important contributions to the separation of the isotope of uranium used in the atomic bomb at Hiroshima.

Early in his career, Seaborg was a pioneer in nuclear medicine and developed numerous isotopes of elements with important applications in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, most notably iodine-131, which is used in the treatment of thyroid disease.


In addition to his theoretical work in the development of the actinide concept which placed the actinide series beneath the lanthanide series on the periodic table, Seaborg proposed the placement of super-heavy elements in the transactinide and superactinide series.

After sharing the 1951 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Edwin McMillan, he received approximately 50 honorary doctorates and numerous other awards and honors. The list of things named after Seaborg ranges from his atomic element to an asteroid. Seaborg was a prolific author, penning more than 50 books and 500 journal articles, often in collaboration with others. He received so many awards and honors that he was once listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the person with the longest entry in Who's Who in America.
Seaborg & favorite periodic chart
the photo above, with his "favorite periodic table" (an Alexander Arrangement of Elements) was used in the Guinness Book and most of his obituaries. The Rare Earths, which he had displaced from the main body of the table is the loop in his right hand on his model of the Alexander Arrangement of Elements. Seaborgium (Sg) is near his left hand.



Glenn T. Seaborg

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