Edwin M. McMillan

National Medal of Science

Physical Sciences

For his scientific achievements including the identification of the first transuranic element (neptunium) and the invention of the phase stability principle incorporated in the synchrotron.

For his scientific achievements including the identification of the first transuranic element (neptunium) and the invention of the phase stability principle incorporated in the synchrotron.

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Birth
September 18, 1907
Age Awarded
83
Country of Birth
USA
Key Contributions
Manhattan Project
Co-Discovered Neptunium
Co-Invented Synchrotron
Awarded by
George H. W. Bush
Education
Princeton University
California Institute of Technology
Areas of Impact
Transportation
Theory & Foundations
Affiliations
University of California, Berkeley
Other Prizes
Nobel Prize
E

Edwin M. McMillan made a huge impact on the field of chemistry when he discovered a new element.The chemist produced the element neptunium in 1940, the first transuranium element ever to be discovered. A transuranium element is one with an atomic number greater than 92, the atomic number of uranium.

McMillan and his collaborator Glenn Seaborg named the element after the planet Neptune since it was the next element after uranium, an element named after the planet Uranus.

In 1942, McMillan joined the Manhattan Project, the research effort to develop nuclear weapons during World War II. While working on the initiative, McMillan helped create the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where the world’s first atomic bomb was created. After the war, McMillan became director of the University of California Radiation Laboratory and he remained at the university until his retirement in 1974.

By Rachel Warren

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