"I do not think we should intentionally lose the armaments race; to do this will be to lose our liberties and, with Patrick Henry, I value my liberties more than my life."
Harold Clayton Urey (1893–1981)
ScD 1946 (hon.)
Harold C. Urey received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1934 for his discovery of deuterium, an essential component of thermonuclear weaponry and nuclear-powered reactors. In a long and varied career, he contributed to significant advances in the fields of physical chemistry and geochemistry, and is credited with being the founder of "cosmochemistry," the term he coined to describe the field of modern lunar science, for his speculations and deductions about the moon's geology. He conducted fundamental work on the structure of atoms and molecules, the thermodynamic properties of gases, and the separation of isotopes. In the late 1940s, he invented the methods now universally used to analyze climate warming and cooling cycles. In 1953, he and PhD student Stanley Miller performed an experiment in which they were able to form four amino acids, the basic building blocks of contemporary life forms on Earth. Their success transformed research on the origins of life.