Nuclear Museum Logo
Nuclear Museum Logo

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Frank Spedding

ChemistAmes, IA

Frank Spedding

Frank Spedding (1902-1984) was a Canadian American chemist.

Before the war, Spedding’s claim to fame was developing a process to purify and separate rare earth elements using ion exchange resins. Because of his expertise, Spedding was asked to lead a team of scientists working on uranium extraction for the Manhattan Project. His team at Iowa State College developed the Ames process to efficiently obtain high purity uranium from uranium halides.

Spedding and his team provided two tons of uranium for Chicago Pile-1, the first controlled nuclear chain reaction, which Spedding witnessed on December 2, 1942. The “Ames Project” ultimately produced more than 1,000 tons of uranium for the Manhattan Project.

Spedding later served as founder and director of the Ames Laboratory, a United States Department of Energy national laboratory affiliated with Iowa State University.

Frank Spedding's Timeline
1902 Oct 22nd Born in Hamilton, Ontario.
1929 Received Ph.D in chemistry from Berkeley.
1941 Asked to lead a team to develop an efficient means of extracting pure uranium.
1947 Founded the Institute of Atomic Research and the Ames Laboratory under the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.
19471968 Directed the Ames Laboratory.
1984 Dec 15th Died in Ames, Iowa.

Related Profiles

Anne McKusick

Oak Ridge, TN

Anne McKusick was born in Rochester, New York, and in April of 1944 went to work for the Tennessee-Eastman Company in Oak Ridge, at the Y-12 Plant.

Donald F. Swinehart

Los Alamos, NM

Donald Swinehart (1917-1993) was an American chemist. Swinehart was born in Strasburg, Ohio. He received a B.

Henry DeWolf Smyth

Washington, DC

Henry DeWolf Smyth (1898-1986) was an American physicist, diplomat, and bureaucrat. During World War II, Smyth was a member of the National Defense Research Committee’s Uranium Section.

Edith Quimby

Columbia University

Edith Hinkley Quimby (1891-1982) was an American medical researcher and physicist.  Quimby is notable as one of the founders of nuclear medicine.