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Harold Clayton Urey Papers Background Harold Clayton Urey was a scientist of considerable scope whose discovery of deuterium helped him win the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1934 Urey also made fundamental contributions to the production of the atomic bomb through his development of the isotope separation processes for the Manhattan Project In the period following World War II Urey played an active part in advocating nuclear arms control in promoting space exploration and in the development of the newly created campus of the University of California San Diego Born in Walkerton Indiana on April 29 1893 Harold Urey was the son of Samuel Clayton and Cora Rebecca Reinohl Urey His early schooling took place in rural Indiana After graduating from high school he taught in country schools in Indiana and Montana for three years In 1914 he entered Montana State University where he majored in zoology and minored in chemistry He received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1917 and worked as an industrial chemist in Philadelphia until the end of World War I He then returned to Montana as an instructor in the department of chemistry where he remained for two years before pursuing a doctorate at the University of California Berkeley At Berkeley Urey studied thermodynamics and worked with Gilbert N Lewis Ureys doctoral research dealt with the rotational contributions to the heat capacities and entropies of gases a subject not well understood at the time He was able to form calculations which led directly to the present methods of calculating thermodynamic functions from spectroscopic data In 1923 Urey attended the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Copenhagen There he studied under Niels Bohr who was conducting seminal work in the theory of atomic structure During this period Urey became involved in the international development of atomic and molecular physical science and he made the acquaintance of prominent scientists of the time including Werner Heisenberg Wolfgang
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