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Foundations of Atomic Theory

Chemistry and physics overlap at the level where investigations of the smallest particles of matter are carried out. Appropriately, several of the pioneers in the study of atomic and nuclear structure are more commonly identified as physicists, but the line between a chemist and a physicist at this level is hard to draw, and the Nobel prizes for this kind of work are granted in both categories. Joseph John Thomson

The British physicist J. J. Thomson discovered the electron in 1897 and also studied the nature of positively charged particles. He received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1906. Ernest Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford was responsible for a remarkable series of discoveries in the fields of radioactivity and nuclear physics. He discovered alpha and beta rays, set forth the laws of radioactive decay, and identified alpha particles as helium nuclei. Most important, he postulated the nuclear structure of the atom. Marie Sklodowska Curie

Marie Curie was the first person ever to receive two Nobel prizes: the first in 1903 in physics for the discovery of the phenomenon of radioactivity, and the second in 1911 in chemistry for the discovery of the radioactive elements polonium and radium. Irne Joliot-Curie and Frdric Joliot

The Joliot-Curies won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1935 for their artificial creation of new radioactive elements (isotopes) by bombardment of alpha particles on various light elements. These isotopes rapidly became important tools in biomedical research and in the treatment of cancer. Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner, and Fritz Strassmann

Foundations of Atomic Theory

In 1938 Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner, and Fritz Strassmann became the first to recognize that the uranium atom, when bombarded by neutrons, actually split. Glenn Seaborg

Glenn Seaborg was involved in identifying nine transuranium elements and served as chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission from 1961 to 1971. In 1951 he received the Nobel Prize in chemistry. Darleane Hoffman

Over the course of her career Darleane Hoffman has chased some of the most elusive forms of matterthe heavy elements. In studying these fugitives, she has made important discoveries about the nature of fission, the atomic process at the heart of nuclear power. Helen Vaughn Michel

Helen Vaughn Michel pioneered the use of high-tech chemical instruments for studying archaeological artifacts. She was also on the research team that uncovered what caused the mass extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Mark Lester P. Doblado BSCE 1A