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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Lawrence Glendenin was a research assistant in the Chemistry Division at the University of Chicago’s Metallurgical Laboratory (“Met Lab”) during the Manhattan Project. He was one of the co-discoverers of Promethium.

In 1942, Glendenin joined the Met Lab as a research chemist. His group’s main focus was the chemical separation, identification, and characterization of the radioactive properties of elements involved in nuclear fission.

In 1945, Glendenin along with Jacob Marinsky and Charles Coryell isolated Promethium, the sixty-first element on the periodic table, while working at Oak Ridge. Promethium is a radioactive element and by-product of uranium-based fission.

After reviewing and debating the Szilard Petition, Glendenin was one of many scientists and workers to sign a similar petition at Oak Ridge.


Early Years

Lawrence Elgin Glendenin was born in 1918 in Bay City, Michigan. In 1941, he graduated from the University of Chicago. 


Later Years

In 1949, he received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Insitute of Technology (MIT). After graduating from MIT, Glendenin became a senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory. He held that position until retiring in 1985. 

Glendenin served as the Scientific Secretary of the U.S. delegation to the Atoms for Peace Conference. In 1974, he was awarded the Glenn T. Seaborg Award for Nuclear Chemistry from the American Chemical Society 

At the age of ninety, Lawrence Elgin Glendenin died on November 22, 2008 in Crystal Lake, Illinois.


For more information about Lawrence Elgin Glendenin, please see the following references:

Lawrence Glendenin's Timeline
1918 Born in Bay City, Michigan.
1941 Graduated from the University of Chicago.
1942 Began to work at the Met Lab.
1945 Co-discovered Promethium at Oak Ridge.
1949 Received his Ph.D. from MIT.
19491985 Served as a senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory.
1974 Awarded the Glenn T. Seaborg Award for Nuclear Chemistry.
2008 Nov 22nd At the age of ninety, died in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

1947 Notes, taken with Jack Schubert.

1947 Notes, taken with Jack Schubert.

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