Talk:Glenn T. Seaborg

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Alpha Chi Sigma[edit]

I can confirm he was one of the founding members of the UCLA chapter of Alpha Chi Sigma, the professional chemistry fraternity. Restevens1 04:02, 20 May 2007 (UTC) restevens1

Seaborg also was chair of the fraternity's scholarship committee and served on its Educational Foundation Board of Directors. He frequently attended the national meetings, preferring to bunk in the dormatory with the other members, rather than a hotel room of his own. This lead to surprising introductions with collegiate members from universities from across the country, in the dorm restroom, standing there shaving early in the morning. Restevens1 04:22, 20 May 2007 (UTC)restevens1

Seaborg Medal[edit]

UCLA's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry awards the Seaborg Medal for achievement in chemistry and biochemistry. -- 17:58, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

Plutonium preceded the Manhattan Project[edit]

While it is commonly assumed that plutonium was discovered during the Manhattan project, it was actually created by Seaborg and his associates on February 23, 1941 at 307 Gilman Hall, University of California, Berkley. The Manhattan Project did not begin until 1942.

Seaborg and his colleagues were quite disappointed and upset that pre-war secrecy prevented them from publishing their discoveries in scientific journals. They did send notices to both the Uranium Committee and the editors of Physical Review with a reluctant request that publication be withheld.

Books Section (help needed)[edit]

Seaborg wrote 50+ books. Please help complete this section if you can. Glenn4pr 08:53, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Cleanup: Legacy section[edit]

I put a cleanup tag there because that section, a list of "principal accomplishments" seems like promotional material that is not ordinarily present in encyclopedic biographies. I really don't see the need for this list, as everything in it has already been mentioned in the article. The scope of the list should be better defined, or the list itself should be deleted.--Jiang 07:38, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

As you know, a biography of this sort is complicated by the sheer mass and range of the individual's accomplishments. In these cases, a summarizing section is in order to help crystallize the subject's principal accomplishments. For WP parallels, see the "Honors" section in the Einstein article. The "Legacy" section in the article on Isaac Newton, FDR and Mao. I suppose it becomes subjective to determine which biographies require these kind of summarizing sections regarding legacy. In Seaborg's case, however, he was listed in the Guiness Book of World's Records as having the longest entry in Marquis' Who's Who, which sort of justifies the need for a summary. Someone nominated this as one of the more important biographies, so that may be taken as another objective justification for a legacy section. Anyway, I'll try removing the bullet points and focusing on the legacy implications, when I get a chance. Glenn4pr 15:20, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

The summary of the article resides in its lead section; it is not necessary to summarize again. The "honors" section of the Einstein article lists awards (i.e. honors) given to Einstein over the years, after his death. The "legacy" section of the Newton article lists discoveries that were later expanded and molded. This is precisely what the word "legacy" means: things handed down from the past. "Legacy" does not mean "principal accomplishments" or "summary of one's biography". Element 106 is part of Seaborg's legacy; that he won the Nobel Prize or was given the title of University Professor is not. We don't need to repeat that he won the Nobel Prize since this fact is already visible in the lead section. --Jiang 23:47, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Jiang, since you have already given this some thought, I suggest that you go through this section and remove those items you object to. If they are already in the article, they should not be reinstated, and I would support you on that. Sincerely, GeorgeLouis 19:23, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

His alma mater[edit]

The infobox now gives him two alma maters. This is not possible. UCLA is his only alma mater (the school he graduated from). UC Berkeley is not his alma mater. I would change this but I don't know how to work infoboxes and can't find any help article about them. Sincerely, GeorgeLouis 05:32, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Seaborg received his bachelor's at UCLA and his doctorate at UC Berkeley. Since the definition of "Alma Mater" is the college or school that one attended or graduated from, I think it is reasonable to list both. Seaborg certainly considered himself an alumnus of both schools, regularly attending college bowl games for both schools (whenever they made it) until late in his life. Glenn4pr 02:12, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
After checking my Webster's 11th, I grant your point. Sincerely, GeorgeLouis 03:14, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I'll bet, though, that during the period when he was chancellor at Berkeley, he muted his love for UCLA <grin>. MWS 16:21, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Writing address w/ elements[edit]

Removed the following:

For the remainder of his life, Seaborg was the only person in the world who could write his address in chemical element symbols: seaborgium, lawrencium, berkelium, californium, americium (Glenn Seaborg, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, United States of America), or, in chemical symbols: Sg, Lr, Bk, Cf, Am.

as it's trivial, and I doubt it's veracity. Seems out of place on a formal biography.Dirtyharry2 00:27, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

It might or might not be true, but it should be sourced if true. Did Seaborg actually do this? Seems like a stretch. GeorgeLouis 01:36, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
One of the first sources for this oft quoted point was an article in Discover magazine. See Jeffrey Winters, "What’s in a Name?" DISCOVER, Vol. 19 No. 01, January 1998. Also available on the web at , website, accessed October 17, 2006. See also and Glenn4pr 05:56, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
Rewrote passage regarding his address. It is more than trivia. It is instructive of both his prolific contributions to science and his strong ambition to create an enduring legacy. Glenn4pr 06:30, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm still not following. Other than Seaborgium (which is a proper name), anyone else who happened to live in the same place could claim the same 'achievement' regarding the address. I simply don't see the relevance. The fact that he discovered so many elements is documented at length elsewhere in the article, and tangential relevance to his address simply doesn't add much, IMHO. However, since I'm the poster who originally removed the text, I'll step back for someone else to act/not act.Dirtyharry2 18:21, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Although Seaborg never actually wrote his address on an envelope like this (to the best of my knowledge), I heard him say this. It is a "trivial" but unique fact. No one else living (before, at that time, nor currently) had an element named them. All were deceased at the time of naming, save Seaborg. Restevens1 04:08, 20 May 2007 (UTC)restevens1

Transmuting lead into gold?[edit]

I haven't been able to find any solid reference for the claim that he ever transmuted lead into gold. I did find a paper where he transmuted bismuth into gold. I suspect that the whole lead claim is just a kind of urban legend (bismuth didn't sound as glamorous, and most people haven't even heard of it!). The paper is K. Aleklett, D. J. Morrissey, W. Loveland, P. L. McGaughey, and G. T. Seaborg. Energy dependence of 209Bi fragmentation in relativistic nuclear collisions. Phys. Rev. C 1981, 23, 1044-1046. doi:10.1103/PhysRevC.23.1044. (This work was originally presented at an ACS meeting in 1980, so the 1980 date in the article is correct.) --Itub 12:08, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Seaborgium - unconfirmed anecdote[edit]

I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Professor Seaborg while attending UCB and was struck by how tall and charming he was. Supposedly shortly after academics began using the seaborgium name for element 106, the ACS issued a statement reaffirming the policy of not naming elements after living people. As the story goes, when Seaborg was asked to comment on this, he said something to the effect of, "Well, it seems I've done enough to be nominated as the namesake for element 106, but as far as the ACS is concerned, I have yet to do one last thing--that is, to die." As morbid as it sounds, I'm certain it was meant to be humorous. It was definitely taken that way by people. (It's entirely possible that while the paraphrased comment is attributed to Seaborg, it was really made by someone else.) Of course, ultimately, the ACS relented. If anyone was worthy of making that exception, Seaborg was. -- 04:00, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

FWIW, I've heard the story too. I have no idea if it is real or just a legend, though. --Itub 09:19, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
The anecdote actually appears in his autobiography... "Adventures in the Atomic Age" or at least something similar to the anecdote does. The only reason I remember this anecdote was that it also applied to another, but by the time they named that element the other scientist had died. Das Nerd 02:00, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Per my personal conversation with Dr. Darleane Hoffman, she and Dr. Al Ghiorso had put together the idea to honor Glenn Seaborg. They ran it by Helen, his wife. She thought he would be pleased (and a little embarassed). So, they proposed it to IUPAC, which adopted it. Then they told Glenn. He was taken aback, but finally relented and agreed to this honor (since it was already a "done deal", he couldn't do much about it!) Restevens1 04:15, 20 May 2007 (UTC)restevens1

Number of children[edit]

This article says Glen and his wife had six children; her article says they had seven children, one of whom died young. Can someone confirm which is correct and edit the page which is wrong?

Molybdomancer (talk) 15:04, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

They had a female child die as an infant, she is not listed in this article. She was a fraternal twin to one of the boys. I know this for a fact, but don't have a source handy so won't add it to the article. Glenn4pr (talk) 23:23, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Discovery of fission[edit]

I have removed a sentence that claimed Seaborg discovered the fission of 235U. Fission of uranium was discovered by Hahn and Strassmann in 1938 and explained theoretically by Meitner and Frisch in 1939. It was Neils Bohr who showed that fission observed in natural uranium came from 235U.Struvite (talk) 15:46, 12 December 2010 (UTC)


Did he receive patents on the elements Americium and Curium themselves (seems unlikely) or just on the methods for "manufacturing" them? --Dante Alighieri | Talk 19:56, 22 September 2011 (UTC)

He received the patents on the elements themselves. They are on record as the shortest patent "claim" ever: "1. Element 95" in the one case and "1. Element 96" in the other. US 3,164,462 (Dec. 15, 1964; filed Feb. 7. 1949) Element 96 and compositions thereof “1. Element 96” US 3,156,523 (Nov. 10, 1964; filed Aug. 23, 1946) Element 95 and method of producing said element “1. Element 95” Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (Washington, DC) Glenn4pr (talk) 23:35, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Glenn T. Seaborg/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Khazar2 (talk · contribs) 18:30, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

I'll be glad to take this one. Initial comments to follow in the next 1-5 days. Thanks again for all the good work you're doing on the nuclear physics topics. -- Khazar2 (talk) 18:30, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

Initial comments[edit]

This looks like a good start, and is clearly comprehensive. My main concern is with the quality of the some of the sourcing. It's probably inevitable that Seaborg's autobiography has to be a main source here, but I wonder if some obituaries or similar sources could be found to transfer part of this load from primary to secondary sources. Some assessments of Seaborg's work in particular seem to need sourcing. More specific concerns below. Thanks again for your work on this one -- Khazar2 (talk) 21:55, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

  • His birth name in the infobox doesn't appear right if he was born "Glen"
  • "His term came at a time of considerable controversy during the time of the free speech movement" -- this is fairly murky to me. "The free speech movement" implies the reader should already know the context or that there's only one. Is there an easy way to clarify this--i.e., "a movement for free speech on campus"? "A national movement for free speech rights for X?"
  • "The Seaborg Report is credited with influencing the federal policy towards academic science for the next eight years." -- this seems a bit close to weasel wording; can we say who credited it this way? As a judgement/assessment, this could also use a citation.
    • YesY I've looked at a dozen sources, and they all track back to Seaborg. Re-written . Hawkeye7 (talk) 11:57, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I tried to clarify the timeline of the Kennedy/Nixon news story to make it clear JFK wasn't in office yet but Nixon still in, to avoid the implication that Nixon was JFK's VP. I also added Nixon's party and a link. If these changes don't make sense to you, feel free to keep tweaking.
    • YesY No, that's fine. Hawkeye7 (talk) 11:57, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I added a half-sentence of context on the LTBT; if Seaborg considered a significant accomplishment, it seems worth explaining here. Feel free to change or revise.
  • "are considered among his most important theoretical contributions" -- this also seems to verge on weasel wording; I'd suggest attributing the judgement in-text, and adding a secondary source assessing this contribution (the citation seems to be directly to his paper)
  • "When Seaborg resigned as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission in 1971, he had served longer than any other Kennedy appointee" -- can a secondary source be found for this instead of Seaborg himself?
  • "Seaborg's technique would have been far too expensive to enable routine manufacturing of gold, but his work is the closest to the mythical Philosopher's Stone" -- this assessment again seems to need a secondary source
  • "Upon seeing the final draft report, Seaborg is credited with making comments that it was far too weak and did not communicate the urgency of the current crisis. " -- is there a source for this?
  • " stated that we are "a nation at risk."" -- this sentence should have its own inline citation attributing this quotation--the citation at the end of the paragraph doesn't attribute these words to him directly, only this title to his committee
  • "These comments led to a new introduction to the report and gave the report the famous title which focused national attention on education as an issue germane to the federal government" -- this assessment ("famous title which focused national attention") needs a source
  • I don't think can be considered a reliable source, as it seems unlikely to have editorial oversight and states that its references include numerous unnamed Internet sites
  • "Marquis Who's Who in America" should probably be formatted "Marquis Who's Who in America", since it's a book.
  • "This experimental achievement changed the course of human history in ways more profound than they could have ever imagined" Sorry for placing this one out of order, but checking the source, I'm not sure I see this assessment. The prose seems a bit more flowery than needed for an encyclopedia in any case. What do you think?

-- Khazar2 (talk) 21:55, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

All points addressed. Hawkeye7 (talk) 12:00, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the quick responses; that covers a lot of my concerns. Some of the above, though, appears to me to still need work.

  • While the Vigyan Prasar source itself has been deleted, a lot of its claims remain in the article without attribution. All of the following appears to need sourcing:
    • "During his lifetime, Seaborg is said to have been the author or co-author of more than 50 books and 500 scientific journal articles, many of them brief reports on fast-breaking discoveries in nuclear science while other subjects, most notably the actinide concept, represented major theoretical contributions in the history of science. He held more than 40 patents – among them the only patents ever issued for chemical elements, americium and curium. He is also said to have received more than 50 degrees and honorary degrees in his lifetime. " (I'd also like to rewrite the "is said", "is said" here to say who says this.)
      • "YesY It is said" sounds weasily to me. Re-worded. Added a reference. Hawkeye7 (talk) 21:40, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
    • "While it has been commonly stated that seaborgium is the only element to have been named after a living person, but this is not entirely accurate, for both einsteinium and fermium were proposed as names of new elements discovered by Ghiorso while Enrico Fermi and Albert Einstein were still living. However, the discovery of these elements and their names were kept secret under Cold War-era nuclear secrecy rules, so the names were not known by the public or the broader scientific community until after their deaths. Thus seaborgium is the only element to have been publicly named after a living person"
      • YesY added another reference. Hawkeye7 (talk) 21:40, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
        • Symbol question.svg This seems like a little bit of WP:SYNTH here still. First, Ghiorso doesn't quite make the timeline clear in the given source--he seems to say they picked names only after the elements were declassified, right around the deaths of Fermi and Einstein. Second, neither of the sources connect the two situations. This may seem fussy, but lots of sources call Seaborgium the only element named after a living person (e.g. Sam Kean's The Disappearing Spoon, which has 3-4 amusing pages on the long controversy over the name); if we're going to contradict conventional wisdom, I want to have at least one source that clearly says that's not quite true. (Interestingly, this book makes the same case, but with Samarium, and it's a bit roundabout.) -- Khazar2 (talk) 12:29, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
          • I did not write that piece, and I'm not sure that I agree. It just seems so much more likely that the decision was made to honour two scientists who had recently died and were therefore in the news. I've looked through the now-declassified documents, and they all say "Element-99" and "element-100". Removed the claim, leaving the statement which I can source, and which is true regardless, as I think the naming should refer to the official one, not the proposal. I understand that nowadays it takes years and years to get a new name adopted. Hawkeye7 (talk) 22:41, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
    • "When Seaborg resigned as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission in 1971, he had served longer than any other Kennedy appointee." -- this doesn't appear to be sourced by the citation you added. The closest I can find in it is a sentence stating " In that capacity he served until his appointment by President Kennedy to the Atomic Energy Commission in 1961, when he was designated Chairman of the Commission. His term of office expires in 1968." Could you point me to the section you're looking at here?
      • YesY added a reference. Hawkeye7 (talk) 21:40, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
        • Symbol question.svg Sorry to be a stickler, but this is the exact same reference I asked you to take out of this spot in the first round of comments. Ideally, I'd still like to have a secondary source that says that he lasted longer than any other Kennedy appointee. If no such source can be found, let's make it clear in-text as well as in the citation that this is based on Seaborg's own statement. I don't mind a primary source for minor claims, but I think it's better to go to secondary sources for accomplishments. -- Khazar2 (talk) 12:29, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
        • Removed. Hawkeye7 (talk) 22:41, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
    • " He compared the crisis in education to the arms race. These comments led to a new introduction to the report and gave the report the famous title, "A Nation at Risk"," -- I'd still like to see a citation for this evaluation of his influence and the fame of the title.
      • YesY added a reference. Hawkeye7 (talk) 21:40, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
    • The source you added for "his work is the closest to the mythical Philosopher's Stone" doesn't say it this strongly, and is heavy with disclaimers (quote below). Can a more solid source for this evaluation be found?
"Even so, determining who first performed the philosopher's stone experiment is surprisingly difficult. As far as I can tell, it wasn't achieved until 1980 - and it took the skill of the doyen of nuclear chemists, Glenn Seaborg, the Nobel Prize-winning American, to achieve the long-sought transformation. Perhaps readers can supply further details of this mysterious experiment? Seaborg may not have been the first to witness the alchemical transformation, however. It is said that, in 1972, Soviet physicists at a nuclear research facility in Siberia opened up the lead shielding of their experimental reactor - and were stunned to discover that its inner surface had turned into gold."
        • The article doesn't make any claim that Seaborg was first. Re-worded to "his work was close to the mythical Philosopher's Stone". All it means is that he was able to create gold from another element. Hawkeye7 (talk) 21:40, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
          • Sure, I understand. It's just that the source doesn't seem very certain and doesn't say he was the closest. Your reworking is fine with me, though. -- Khazar2 (talk) 12:29, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

Thanks again for all your work on this one. -- Khazar2 (talk) 18:21, 23 July 2013 (UTC)


Great, I think that covers all my concerns. Let me do a few last checks for things like image tags and we should be set here. -- Khazar2 (talk) 12:11, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Rate Attribute Review Comment
1. Well written:
1a. the prose is clear and concise, and the spelling and grammar are correct.
1b. it complies with the manual of style guidelines for lead sections, layout, words to watch, fiction, and list incorporation. I made one change to the lead to reflect a change you made to the body; feel free to further change if you have a preferred phrasing.
2. Verifiable with no original research:
2a. it contains a list of all references (sources of information), presented in accordance with the layout style guideline.
2b. all in-line citations are from reliable sources, including those for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons—science-based articles should follow the scientific citation guidelines.
2c. it contains no original research.
3. Broad in its coverage:
3a. it addresses the main aspects of the topic.
3b. it stays focused on the topic without going into unnecessary detail (see summary style).
4. Neutral: it represents viewpoints fairly and without editorial bias, giving due weight to each.
5. Stable: it does not change significantly from day to day because of an ongoing edit war or content dispute.
6. Illustrated, if possible, by images:
6a. images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content.
6b. images are relevant to the topic, and have suitable captions.
7. Overall assessment. Pass as GA

External link?[edit]

Would an interview with transcript with Glenn Seaborg from 1986 be useful here as an external link? Focus of conversation is nuclear weapons policy. (I have a conflict of interest; otherwise I would add it myself.) Mccallucc (talk) 17:11, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

YesY Added. I like external links where the reader can actually see and hear the subject. Hawkeye7 (talk) 21:49, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Glenn T. Seaborg/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

I recently submitted an edit to this article. It had said that Seaborg sneaked a tiny camera past Soviet guards to photograph Kennedy and Khrushchev signing the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963. In fact, the Treaty was signed in Moscow, but Kennedy was not present. The U.S. delegation was headed by Averill Harriman, who signed for the U.S. I edited the article to remove the Kennedy reference.

Last edited at 02:46, 17 February 2007 (UTC). Substituted at 16:23, 29 April 2016 (UTC)