geochemistry

Harrison Brown and the Isolation of Plutonium

Harrison Brown and the Isolation of Plutonium

On September 26, 1916, American nuclear chemist and geochemist Harrison Scott Brown was born. Brown is generally known for his role in isolating plutonium for its use in the first atomic bombs and for his studies regarding meteorites and the Earth’s origin. He also was a political activist, who lectured and wrote on the issues of arms limitation, natural resources and world hunger. Harrison Brown was born in Sheridan, Wyoming, USA, the…
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Clair Cameron Patterson and the exact Age of the Earth

Clair Cameron Patterson and the exact Age of the Earth

On June 2, 1922, American geochemist Clair Cameron Patterson was born. Patterson developed the uranium–lead dating method into lead–lead dating and, by using lead isotopic data from the Canyon Diablo meteorite, he calculated an age for the Earth of 4.55 billion years; a figure far more accurate than those that existed at the time and one that has remained largely unchanged since 1956. Youth and Education Clair Patterson was born in Mitchellville,…
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Victor Moritz Goldschmidt and the Origins of Geochemistry

Victor Moritz Goldschmidt and the Origins of Geochemistry

On January 27, 1888, Swiss-Norwegian geochemist, mineralogist and petrologist Victor Moritz Goldschmidt was born. Goldschmidt is considered (together with Vladimir Vernadsky) to be the founder of modern geochemistry and crystal chemistry, as well as the developer of the Goldschmidt Classification of elements. Early Years Goldschmidt was born in Zürich, Switzerland, into a family of Jewish parents, Heinrich Jacob Goldschmidt, a distinguished physical chemist, who held professorships at Amsterdam, Heidelberg, and Oslo, and…
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Vladimir Vernadsky and the Biosphere

Vladimir Vernadsky and the Biosphere

On March 12 (February 28 according to the old calendar), 1863, Ukrainian and Soviet mineralogist and geochemist Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky was born. He is considered one of the founders of geochemistry, biogeochemistry, and of radiogeology. He is most noted for his 1926 book “The Biosphere” in which he popularized the hypothesis that life is the geological force that shapes the Earth. Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky was born on March 12, 1863 in Saint…
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