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Lawrence B. Magnusson was a research associate at the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago. He was a signer of the Szilard petition, which attempted to avert the U.S. use of the atomic bombs against Japan.

According to the Journal of Glenn T. Seaborg, Vol. 2, Magnusson was interviewed by Seaborg himself (p. 168). Prior to joining the Met Lab, he was a graduate student at Iowa State and working as control chemist for the Chemical Warfare Service at Huntsville Arsenal in Alabama.

On October 4, 1943, Magnusson began working at the Met Lab as a junior chemist in Section C-I led by Burris Cunningham. During his time at the Met Lab, he specialized in neptunium chemistry and worked in the Basic Chemistry, Basic Wet Chemistry, and Heavy Isotopes Groups. In his three years at the lab, Magnusson climbed the ranks from junior chemist to research associate.

In his fourth volume of his journal, Seaborg was highly complimentary of Magnusson: “Magnusson, I say, is one of the most knowledgeable men in the world about neptuinium chemistry. He, with T.J. La Chapelle, was the first to isolate neptunium in the pure state. He is pleasant, trustworthy, and conscientious and one of the best young scientists I have ever known.” (p.486)

On April 15, 1946, Magnusson left the Met Lab to finish his graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley. While in Berkeley, he also worked at the university’s Radiation Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Berkeley in 1949.


For more information about Magnusson, please see the following references:

Lawrence B. Magnusson's Timeline
1941 Graduated with a B.A. from Augustana College (Rock Island, IL).
1943 Oct 4th Began working at the Met Lab.
1945 May Promoted to research assistant.
1945 Aug Promoted to research associate in the Heavy Isotopes Group.
1946 Apr 15th Left the Met Lab for the University of California, Berkeley.
Earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Berkeley.

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