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Glenn T. Seaborg
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Scientist
    (April 19, 1912-February 25, 1999)
    Born in Ishpeming, Michigan
    Discovered or co-discovered ten transuranium elements: plutonium, americium, curium, berkelium, californium, einsteinium, mendelevium, nobelium and seaborgium
    Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley (1958-61)
    Chair of the Atomic Energy Commission (1961-71)
    Co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1951)
    His first name was originally 'Glen,' but he added an extra 'n' to it for no apparent reason.
    He said about his first attempt to calculate the half-life of plutonium, 'We had the advantage that we had so many errors that they cancelled each other. So we came out with a good value.'
    The decision to name element 106 'seaborgium' in his honor while he was still alive was so controversial that it took over 20 years before the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry accepted the name.
    He was valedictorian of his high school.
    He was married to Helen Griggs (the former secretary of Nobel Prize winner Ernest O. Lawrence) for 56 years.
    As a guest on the radio show 'Quiz Kids,' he was asked if he had made any new discoveries. He replied that he had just synthesized elements 95 (later named americium) and 96 (curium), informing radio listeners before the discovery was reported to a scientific journal (November 11, 1945).
    He and his wife were avid hikers, with several trails that they blazed being added to the American Hiking Association's cross-country network.
    He helped organize the Pac-12 athletic conference (1958).
    He said his proudest achievement -- and most difficult accomplishment -- was serving on the team that negotiated the Limited Test Ban Treaty banning above-ground tests of nuclear weapons (1963).
    He served as an advisor on nuclear policy to ten US presidents, from Harry Truman to Bill Clinton.
    He had achievements in so many areas that for years he held the record for longest entry in 'Who's Who in America.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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