ACS Award in Nuclear Chemistry

Previous ACS Nuclear Chemistry Award Recipients

  2013 Richard "Dick" Haire 2012 Silvia S. Jurisson
2011 Dave Morrissey 2010 Lee Sobotka 2009 Kenton J. Moody
2008 Romulado de Souza 2007 Norbert G. Trautmann 2006 Steven W. Yates
 2005 Luciano G. Moretto 2004 Donald G. Fleming 2003 Demetrios G. Sarantites
2002 Joanna S. Fowler 2001 William B. Walters 2000 Richard L. "Dick" Hahn
1999 Karl-Ludwig Kratz 1998 Raymond K. Sheline 1997 Peter Armbruster
1996 William D. Ehmann 1995 Joseph B. Natowitz 1994 E. Kenneth Hulet
1993 Richard M. Diamond 1992 Robert N. Clayton 1991 John M. Alexander
1990 Michael J. Welch 1989 Ronald D. Macfarlane 1988 Guenter Herrman
1987 Ellis P. Steinberg 1986 Victor E. Viola 1985 Gregory R. Choppin
1984 Joseph Cerny 1983 Darleane C. Hoffman 1982 Leo Yaffe
1981 Robert Vandenbosch 1980 Arthur M. Poskanzer 1979 Raymond G. Davis, Jr.
1978 Paul K. Kuroda 1977 Glen E. Gordon 1976 John O. Rasmussen
1975 John R. Huizenga 1974 Lawrence E. Glendenin 1973 Albert Ghiorso
1972 Anthony Turkevich 1971 Alfred P. Wolf 1970 Paul R. Fields
1969 George E. Boyd 1968 Richard L. Wolfgang 1967 Gerhart Friedlander
1966 Arthur C. Wahl 1965 Stanley G. Thompson 1964 Isadore Perlman
1963 Martin D. Kamen 1962 Truman P. Kohman 1961 Joseph H. Katz
1960 Charles D. Coryell 1959 John E. Willard 1958 Jacob Bigeleisen
1957 Melvin Calvin 1956 Willard F. Libby 1955 Henry Taube

   2013 Glenn T. Seaborg Nuclear Chemistry Award


Richard G. ("Dick") Haire          

Oak Ridge National Laboratory
PO BOX 2008 MS6375
Oak Ridge TN 37831-6375

Richard G. ("Dick") Haire, a corporate fellow emeritus of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), has spent four decades probing multiple science aspects of the 4f- and 5f-electron elements, concentrating primarily on the fundamental science of the elements actinium through mendelevium.

Haire joined the staff of ORNL in 1965 after earning a Ph.D. in chemistry at Michigan State University. He led the transuranium element chemistry group at ORNL and also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee.

Part of what attracted Haire to ORNL was its high-flux isotope reactor, which produced transplutonium elements in nanogram to milligram quantities—a sufficient amount for research studies.

Haire became known for his forefront fundamental research of these f-elements and their compounds, and he has developed numerous novel experimental techniques for using the small samples available for fundamental studies. His research efforts have emphasized the role of electronic configurations and systematic comparisons for understanding the chemistry and physics of these elements.

Some of Haire’s collaborative research projects involving the actinides have delved into the crystal structure of the metals and assignment of their electronic configurations; the enthalpies of sublimation and of solution of the transplutonium elements, again in conjunction with the materials’ electronic configurations; the crystal structure and properties of multiple actinide compounds; and the determination of the high-pressure behaviors of protactinium and americium through californium with a special emphasis on the changes in their 5f-electron bonding with pressure.

Working with small quantities of these transplutonium elements can pose unique challenges, especially for those elements with short half-lives and significant levels of radioactivity. For example, einsteinium-253, the major einsteinium isotope produced in reactors, has a half-life of 20 days; thus the ionizing radiation and accompanying thermal heat from decay can affect the chemistry and physics of its materials. Haire is one of the few people who have performed research on the solid-state forms of einsteinium and fermium metals and compounds. The crystal structure of einsteinium metal and the enthalpies of sublimation of einsteinium and fermium metals determined in these studies established that they are the first “divalent” actinide metals of the series, in accordance with their predicted f to d electron promotion energies.

Haire is a member of several scientific organizations and an emeritus member of ACS. He was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has had a large number of scientific collaborations with national and international scientific groups and has received numerous awards. He is the author or coauthor of some 400 research articles and reference book chapters. He currently is a consultant with the ORNL Radiochemical & Engineering Center.

Haire will present the award address before the ACS Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology at the New Orleans meeting.

Alexander H. Tullo, Chemical & Engineering News, February 25, 2013,Volume 91


   2012 Glenn T. Seaborg Nuclear Chemistry Award

Silvia Jurisson          

Department of Chemistry
University of Missouri-Columbia
125 Chemistry Building
601 S. College Avenue
Columbia, MO 65211-7600

Although radiochemistry programs have been dwindling at universities across the U.S., exploration of the field is expanding at the University of Missouri, Columbia, largely because of the efforts of chemistry professor Silvia S. Jurisson.

When Jurisson arrived at the university in 1991, attracted by its research reactor, she was the department's only radiochemist.  ''We now have four in the chemistry department," she says.

"Regretfully, there has been a precipitous decline in the number of academic nuclear and radiochemistry programs in the U.S. over the last 25 years," says J. David Robertson, a professor of chemistry and associate director of the research reactor at the University of Missouri.  "Professor Jurisson provided both the vision and the leadership that persuaded the university to buck the national trend and invest in this area of critical national need."

In addition, Jurisson sees teaching
- to enable graduate and undergraduate students to spread their wings in radiochemistry - as vital to her mission.  "It is really important to train the next generation of students in radiochemistry and nuclear chemistry," she says.  "It is a field not as many folks go into anymore."

Radioenvironmental chemistry and radiopharmaceutical chemistry are two of Jurisson's main areas of research. Her work in radioenvironmental chemistry has focused on technetium-99, an isotope produced in the nuclear fuel cycle that has a long half-life.  Nuclear sites that were active during the Cold War, such as Savannah River in South Carolina and Hanford in Washington, have been contaminated with 99Tc.  The most common chemical form of the isotope, pertechnetate, isn't absorbed by most clays in soil and thus tends to migrate in the environment.

Jurisson has sought to find a way to make 99Tc stop migrating.  She has attempted to do this by reducing the pertechnetate with iron(II) sulfide.  ''When we reacted that with the pertechnetate, the technetium incorporated onto the surface of the iron sulfide and bound there quite nicely," she recalls.

In radiopharmaceuticals, Jurisson's work has mostly been involved with radiotherapy.  There, the objective Jurisson is to chelate radioactive metals such as rhenium, rhodium, and radio-lanthanides and covalently link the chelates onto antibodies or peptides.  Rhenium and technetium can directly cyclize peptides by coordinating to cysteine thiolates from reduced disulfide bonds, as in the case of
a-melanocyte-stimulating hormone or octreotide analogs.  A successful radiopharmaceutical will bind to the receptors of cancer cells and, in Jurisson's words, "stay there long enough to irradiate and hopefully kill them."

Recently, Jurisson's group has been working on processing, separating, and complexing rhodium-105, rhenlum-186, and arsenic-72.  Her group is now working on conjugating these radionuclides with peptides.

Jurisson, who is 55, says she has always been interested in math and science and that her interest in chemistry in particular emerged when she received a chemistry set as a child.  She earned a B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Delaware in 1978 and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of Cincinnati in 1982.  She has authored 103 papers.

Jurisson will present the award address before the ACS Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology.
ALEX TULLO, Chemical & Engineering News, January 16, 2012, 90, 40-41.

2011 Glenn T. Seaborg Nuclear Chemistry Award

   2011 Glenn T. Seaborg Nuclear Chemistry Award

Dave Morrissey

Department of Chemistry
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1322

David J. Morrissey has made a career of studying exotic, rare, and short-lived nuclei and developing techniques to separate these nuclei from thousands of other nuclear reaction products.  Morrissey is one of the most important early leaders who recognized the potential of the projectile fragmentation technique to produce and study rare isotopes, colleagues say.

The University Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and associate director of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) at Michigan State University, Morrissey is an expert in the mechanics of intermediate-energy, heavy-ion reactions; the production of rare isotopes from such reactions; and the application of those isotopes for spectroscopic studies.  Most recently, he has made significant contributions to the chemistry and physics involved in stopping fast-moving heavy ions in gases.

“In a way, the production of new or previously unobserved isotopes goes back to the earliest work of nuclear scientists, the Curies and Rutherford,” he notes.  “Over the past 100 years, the original 300 or so stable isotopes were rapidly identified by mass spectrometry and then reacted with one another to produce new nuclei.  These studies have now progressed to the point that we have begun to firmly establish upper and lower limits to the mass numbers for chemical elements.  The task now is to investigate the reaction mechanism or develop new instruments for separation and detection of the most exotic nuclei.”

Morrissey, 57, received a B.S. in chemistry with distinction from Pennsylvania State University in 1975 and a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1978 from the University of California, Berkeley.

While he was studying at Penn State, his interest shifted between chemistry and physics, eventually settling on nuclear chemistry and conducting undergraduate research with nuclear chemist Warren Miller.  Morrissey's Ph.D. work was completed under the direction of Glenn T. Seaborg.

“Seaborg was a true pioneer in the discovery of both unknown chemical elements and isotopes,” Morrissey notes.  “He was always optimistic about going beyond what had already been achieved, and it is interesting that only today we are beginning to see real limits to the sizes of nuclei and distribution of neutrons and protons in a nucleus.”

Morrissey continued at UC Berkeley as a postgraduate fellow working with Luciano G. Moretto.  Morrissey began his faculty appointment at Michigan State and his association with NSCL in 1981.  He played a leading role in the evolution of NSCL into a world-leading facility for the production and study of rare isotopes.

Morrissey was also a member of the education team that developed the Computer-Assisted Personalized Approach (CAPA) for assignments and examinations at Michigan State, where he adapted CAPA to large freshman chemistry classes.  CAPA has evolved and expanded to many U.S. universities.  Morrissey is also coauthor of “Modern Nuclear Chemistry,” the text used in most U.S. undergraduate nuclear chemistry courses.

One of Morrissey's favorite activities has been what he calls “cosmopolitan travel” -visiting large cities in Europe, Japan, Canada, and the U.S and sampling their museums and sights, an attractive “side benefit,” he notes, of the international nature of nuclear science.

Morrissey will deliver the award address before the Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology. – JEFF JOHNSON C&EN, 89, February 7, 2011, 40-41

 2010 Glenn T. Seaborg Nuclear Chemistry Award

Lee Sobotka


Department of Chemistry
Washington University in St. Louis
Campus Box 1134
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899



On his departmental Web page, Lee G. Sobotka, 54, professor of chemistry and physics at Washington University in St. Louis, describes his research focus as "understanding, detecting and innovative uses of God's Quantum Dots." Those who nominated the award winner get more down to Earth when describing his development of novel tech­nologies to attack important and difficult problems in basic nuclear science.


For example, Sobotka and D.G. Sarantites developed the Dwarf-Ball and Dwarf­Wall devices that allowed the first measurement with full an coverage for the emit­ted charged particles, for example, protons, deuterons, tritons, and a particles, that didn't require forfeiting the ability to measure photons or neutrons in a surrounding device. This accomplishment required So­botka to advance both detector technology and signal-processing electronics.


Another example resulted from his recognition that the existing microcircuits built on Si chips for analog pulse-processing de­signed for high-energy physics applications did not have the necessary features for their work. Sobotka and coworkers Jon Elson and George Engel set to work making some that did. These microelectronics facilitate the operation of 1,000+ element Si arrays for the detection of ionizing radiation. This technology enabled Sobotka and his close collaborator Robert Charity to perform many-particle correlation experiments and thereby study the continuum structure oflight nuclei by particle-decay spectroscopy. This includes, for example, the continuum structure or resonances of very exotic nuclei such as JOC and, he reports most recently, 8e. Half a dozen groups around the world are gearing up to use this technology.


These successes motivated Sobotka's team to develop another generic chip for pulse-shape analysis, one with the ability to tell the type ofimpinging radiation as well as its energy for certain scintillators. Although this chip is still undergoing testing, groups at Michigan State University and Los Alamos National Laboratory are planning to use it for basic nuclear science experiments and for homeland security applications, respectively. Sobotka also has a long-standing interest in the density of states (DoS) of the nuclear "quantum dot." His interest focuses on how the DoS increases with excitation energy and is affected by the neutron-proton asym­metrywith the attendant change in the in-medium (nucleon-nucleon) correlations with changing neutron-to-proton ratio.


Sobotka received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Michigan -c in 1977 joined the faculty of Washington University in St. is Louis in 1984 and has made it his professional home. A colleague sums up Sobotka's attributes: "While many scientists meld technology, experimentation, and nuclear modeling, Sobotka has spliced these together to an unrivaled degree. He attributes this to a mind-set of doing what has to be done, when it has to be done, with the resources one can realistically expect to have, while engaging like-minded collaborators who enjoy, as he does, all aspects of the science of discovery." Sobotka will present the award address before the Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology.-LlNDA RABER


2009 Glenn T. Seaborg Nuclear Chemistry Award

Kenton (Ken) J. Moody


Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
7000 East Avenue
Livermore, CA 94550

from Chemical & Engineering News, February 2, 2009 - Volume 87, Number 5, p. 40

Mitch Jacoby

For chemists who work in heavy-element synthesis, discovering a new element can be the highlight of a scientific career. Kenton J. Moody, a staff chemist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, enjoys the distinction of having discovered not one, but five new elements.

As a founding member of the collaboration between the heavy-element research groups at Livermore and the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions, in Dubna, Russia, Moody served as a senior member of the teams that discovered elements 113, 114, 115, 116, and 118. Those seminal investigations also led to the first observations of more than 30 isotopes of various heavy elements.

"There are very few people who can claim to have participated in the discovery of even one new chemical element," says Dawn A. Shaughnessy, a staff chemist at Livermore. "Playing an active role in the discovery of five new elements is a remarkable accomplishment."

Shaughnessy points out that Moody was a graduate student with the late chemistry Nobel Laureate Glenn T. Seaborg and that, like his mentor, Moody dedicated his career to nuclear chemistry. In particular, Moody helped collect a growing body of experimental evidence for the existence of the "island of stability," a region on the chart of nuclides in which certain superheavy nuclei are predicted to be especially stable. Verifying the island's existence was critically important to Seaborg.

Moody's contributions to the field are memorialized on new periodic tables and will be recognized in textbooks used by future chemistry students, Shaughnessy says. All of those accomplishments, she comments, make Moody's receipt of the Seaborg Award "most appropriate."

Moody, 54, has focused on research in nuclear chemistry since the 1970s. He has investigated a wide range of topics in nuclear and radiochemistry, including heavy-element synthesis and detection, characterization of actinide and transactinide elements, and measurement of nuclear reaction cross sections (probabilities). He has also developed methods for chemical separations and analysis of most of the elements in the periodic table.

Among Moody's more recent contributions to nuclear science is his creation of the new discipline of nuclear forensics, for which he is coauthor of the field's definitive textbook. To help set this new area of science on solid ground, Moody developed the methodology needed to deduce the history of samples of nuclear materials. This technique is now routinely used by the Department of Homeland Security and law-enforcement agencies to identify illicit nuclear materials.

Moody graduated in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and received a Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry from UC Berkeley in 1983. After conducting postdoctoral research in the Nuclear Science Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Moody moved to Germany, where he was appointed staff scientist at the Institute for Heavy Ion Research, in Darmstadt. In 1985, he returned to the U.S. to begin a position as a nuclear chemist at Livermore and has continued to conduct research there for nearly 25 years.

Moody has published more than 100 papers in scientific journals and has mentored numerous summer research interns and graduate students. He has also served as an instructor for the ACS summer school in nuclear chemistry, lecturing on heavy-element science, fundamentals of radiochemistry, and nuclear forensics. Moody's commitment to nuclear science education has recently led to his appointment as adjunct professor in the newly formed radiochemistry program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Moody will present the award address before the Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology

2008 Glenn T. Seaborg Nuclear Chemistry Award

Romualdo de Souza

Indiana University
Department of Chemistry
800 E. Kirkwood Ave.
Bloomington, IN 47405-7102
Phone: (812) 855-9043

from Chemical & Engineering News, January 21, 2008 - Volume 86, Number 3

Romualdo T. de Souza, the son of an American oil company engineer, was born in India in 1963. When he was six, his family relocated to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where they lived for four years before immigrating to the U.S. De Souza grew up in the late 1960s, and his passion for science and engineering was ignited by the Apollo space program and the race to put a man on the moon.

De Souza, professor of chemistry at Indiana University, Bloomington, is now a leading researcher in the field of nuclear reaction dynamics. The award winner has been selected for his work in elucidating the nature of nuclear multifragmentation through the use of fragment-fragment velocity correlations and developing key instrumentation enabling research in nuclear chemistry.

"Professor de Souza is a true scholar doing cutting-edge research in the field of nuclear chemistry," says David F. Clemmer, Robert & Marjorie Mann Chair of Chemistry at Indiana University. "The insight, ambition, and energy that Professor de Souza brings to his science are remarkable," Clemmer says.

Receiving this horror, however, was a bit of a surprise for de Souza. "It is gratifying to have the work that you feel so passionately about recognized by colleagues in the field," he says. He adds that winning this award is particularly meaningful as many of his scientific role models arc former Seaborg Award recipients.

De Souza's research deals with nuclear reactions involving a single collision of two nuclei. The collision yields a highly excited nuclear system that rapidly decays into multiple protons, neutrons, and larger clusters. This phenomenon is known as multifragmentation.

"This technique of fragment-fragment correlations utilizes the interaction between the particles themselves to assess the spatial and temporal extent of the decaying source on the timescale of less than 10-21 seconds," de Souza explains. With this approach, his group has been able to show that multifragmentation is an evolutionary process and does not involve an instantaneous breakup of a highly excited system into multiple fragments as previously thought.

De Souza's research also included the development of sophisticated instrumentation capable of yielding high isotope and angular resolution. Specifically, he has played a key role in developing 4p detectors and silicon strip arrays.

In addition to his research contributions, de Souza has been active in improving chemical education. For example, in 1996, he developed the Computer Assisted Learning Method (, which is a Web-based learning environment that is now being used by more than 2,000 first-year chemistry students at Indiana University’s Bloomington campus.

"Professor de Souza brings to his research an energy and intellect that has enriched not only our knowledge of the interactions between complex nuclei but also the broader scientific community through his initiatives in instrumentation and chemical education," says Claus-Konrad Gelbke, director of the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) at Michigan State University.

Prior to joining Indiana University in 1991, de Souza, 44, completed a postdoc appointment at the University of Rochester and a research assistantship at NSCL. He holds Ph.D. and M.S. degrees from the University of Rochester 1988 and 1985, respectively and an A.B. from Washington University, St. Louis (1983).

De Souza was an SBC Fellow in 2003 and an Ameritech Fellow in 2002. He is a member of ACS, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and Sigma Xi.

The award address will be presented before the Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology at the fall 2008 national meeting in Philadelphia.--SUSAN MORRISSEY

2007 Glenn T. Seaborg Nuclear Chemistry Award

Norbert G. Trautmann

Institut für Kernchemie
Die Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
D 55099 Mainz

from Chemical & Engineering News, February 15, 2007 - Volume 85, Number 3

Norbert G. Trautmann, 67, had the benefit of professional contact with Glenn T. Seaborg and Otto Hahn at formative stages in his career. While working for his Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry at Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, in Germany, Trautmann was part of a group that discovered the heaviest isotopes of protactinium. Hahn, who discovered protactinium with Lise Meitner, took an interest in this work when he occasionally visited his partner in splitting the atom, Fritz Strassmann, Trautmann still at Mainz in the 1960s. "He also dropped in on my lab and asked what was going on with protactinium," Trautmann recalls.

After receiving his Ph.D., Trautmann initiated work on fast chemical separation methods, mainly based on solvent extractions. The methods had to separate a single element from a mixture 30 or more elements in fission product mixtures and perform the separation quickly enough to accommodate the sometimes subsecond half-lives of the isotopes of the isolated elements. In 1970, Seaborg became interested in the fast-separation techniques that Trautmann was developing and invited him to come to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), where he worked in 1970 and 1971 under Seaborg and Albert Ghiorso. Trautmann recalls Seaborg fondly. "At that time, you could ask him more or less anything about the heaviest elements," Trautmann says. "I admired him very much."

Gerhardt Friedlander, a retired senior chemist with Brookhaven National Laboratory, says Seaborg himself would be impressed by Trautmann's body of work, noting that "Trautmann coauthored several publications with him and has contributed significantly to the field closest to Seaborg's heart: production and properties of the heaviest elements."

Following his fellowship at LBNL, Trautmann returned to Mainz, where he became the deputy manager of the Research Reactor TRIGA Mainz at the Institute for Nuclear Chemistry (INC). He became the manager of the research reactor in 1991, a position he gave up only a few months ago.

Friedlander recalls, from visits to INC, Trautmann's boundless energy. "He really seems to be the one who keeps all the wheels in the institute turning," he says. "His nonstop work habits are legendary. Time and time again, I have seen experiments and projects on the verge of foundering until Trautmann came to the rescue and led them to success."

Trautmann's work at the research reactor was also seminal. Guenter F. Herrmann, his thesis adviser at Mainz, rates Trautmann's development of rapid chemical separation techniques and resonance ionization mass spectrometry (RIMS) of actinide elements as major accomplishments. "Trautmann was the first to master complicated separation schemes involving several steps on a time scale of seconds," Herrmann says. "This made numerous new nuclides in the complex fission product mixture accessible for study." Trautmann says these methods enabled measurements of the fission properties of short-lived isotopes. Using a centrifuge system developed with international partners, Trautmann then focused on chemical properties of transactinide elements with atomic numbers of 104 or greater.

RIMS was used by Trautmann and coworkers to determine the first ionization potential of the elements americium through einsteinium for the first time and for the ultratrace analysis of transuranium elements, particularly plutonium. Trautmann has authored or coauthored more than 300 papers. He won the Fritz-Strassmann Award of the German Chemical Society in 1984, the Helmholtz Award of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt Braunschweig in 1990, and the Otto Hahn Award of the City of Frankfurt in 1998. The award address will be presented before the Division of :Nuclear Chemistry & Technology at Fall 2007 ACS National Meeting in Boston.-ALEX TULLO

      2006 Glenn T. Seaborg Nuclear Chemistry Award

Steven W. Yates

Department of Chemistry
University of Kentucky

from Chemical & Engineering News, February 6, 2006  - Volume 84, Number 6

Glenn T. Seaborg Award for Nuclear Chemistry
Sponsored by the ACS Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology

Steven W. Yates, professor of chemistry, physics, and astronomy and currently chair of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky, has made contributions in all areas of his profession as a researcher and an educator, as an editor and a writer, and as a member of government and private-sector science panels. This award recognizes him for his groundbreaking studies of multi-phonon excitations in atomic nuclei and for the development of techniques for measuring very short nuclear lifetimes.

Yates, 59, received a B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Missouri, Columbia, in 1968 and a Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry from Purdue University in 1973, where he studied with Patrick Daly.

Following his dissertation work at Purdue, during which he characterized a new class of negative-parity states in transitional nuclei and explained them in terms of the semidecoupled model, he accepted a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Argonne National Laboratory. While there, he investigated the properties of actinide nuclei, primarily by light-ion-scattering and transfer reactions. These investigations led to meaningful predictions, based on single-particle energies, of the ultimate stability of superheavy elements. In 1975, Yates moved to the University of Kentucky, where he initiated a program of nuclear structure studies. His early work, with measurements performed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, included the first observation of the backbending phenomenon in the y-vibrational band of a deformed nucleus. This discovery was key in describing backbending in terms of rotational hand interactions and band crossings.

In the late 1970s, Yates began the experiments for which he is best known at the University of Kentucky's Van de Graaff accelerator. Although the inelastic neutron-scattering reaction, first characterized by Glenn T. Seaborg and his colleagues, had been used by others, Yates can be credited with recognizing and developing the spectroscopic power of this reaction and exploiting its potential.

Yates's studies of multiphonon excitations in spherical and deformed nuclei are his most enduring contributions. The identification of both the K = 0 and K = 4 two-phonon g-vibrational excitations in a deformed nucleus is a remarkable achievement; however, Yates's efforts to understand the octupole excitations are even more significant. In nuclei near the 82-neutron shell closure, he found early evidence for complete multiplets of quadrupole-octupole coupled states, and his search for two-phonon octupole states led to the identification of the 0+ member of the long-sought two-phonon quartet in 208Pb.

This result provided a textbook example of collective excitations in nuclei and must be regarded as confirming the existence of two-phonon octupole vibrations. His group later provided candidates for two additional members of this quartet. Because these identifications rely on knowledge of electric dipole transition rates, his group then launched a study to understand these transitions in spherical nuclei. This work led to the characterization of perhaps thefinest example of weak coupling in nuclei.

Yates's most recent work has focused on determining how persistent quadrupole vibrations are in nuclei. He and his colleagues have characterized complete three-phonon multiplets in several nuclei, and, if four-phonon multiplets still retain their collective character, his group holds promise for identifying these excitations as well.

His contributions in other areas are also notable. In addition to receiving both university and student initiated awards for his teaching, he has been a regular contributor of educational articles in the Journal of Chemical Education. He has been involved in ACS's Summer Schools in Nuclear Chemistry since their inception. Ten doctoral and seven master's students working under his direction have received degrees, and he has mentored more than a dozen postdocs. The award address will be presented before the Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology.—Linda Raber


      2005 Glenn T. Seaborg Nuclear Chemistry Award

Luciano G. Moretto

Department of Chemistry
University of California -Berkeley

from Chemical & Engineering News, January 17, 2005  - Volume 83, Number 3

Sponsored by the ACS Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology

Luciano G. Moretto started out his intellectual life both inquisitive and adventurous. If his research and reputation as a professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, and faculty senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory serve as a guide, he never lost a step since his days as a precocious child.

One colleague calls him "perhaps the most distinguished active scientist working in the area of complex nuclear reactions." Another colleague adds, "His contributions to nuclear level densities, fission formalism, complex fragment emission, deeply inelastic reactions between heavy nuclei, multifragmentation reactions, and scaling theory," along with his "advanced arguments for the nuclear liquid-gas phase transition, have made him one--if not 'the'--world expert in statistical theory as applied to complex nuclear reactions."

As a schoolboy, Moretto's tedious Greek and Latin grammar classes weren't enough to keep his curiosity satisfied. He supplemented his studies with physics and chemistry books from a small local library. He says his experiments left him with the "yellow stains of nitric acid and the black stains of silver nitrate." One night he synthesized nitroglycerin. Prompted by the "sweet and burning" taste a book told him nitroglycerin should have, he tasted the concoction. The strong vascular dilator left him with the worst headache of his life.

Later on, Moretto says he earned the best score in all of Italy on that country's notoriously challenging "esame di maturità classica," an exam taken at the end of high school. That performance secured him a scholarship to continue his studies. After receiving his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Pavia, Moretto set to work studying the yields of fission fragments.

He then received a fellowship to work at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on slow neutron, fast neutron, and electron-induced fission yields. He stayed in Berkeley for three years before returning to Italy temporarily to teach.

In 1971, Moretto returned to Berkeley permanently and focused on the study of nuclear reactions. He spent the 1970s inducing fission with high-energy particles to determine, he says, how the shell structure "slowly fades away" with increasing energy. This work led to influential papers on nuclear level densities with John R. Huizenga.

In the late 1970s and the 1980s, Moretto's group studied deep-inelastic collisions between heavy nuclei. The group studied how energy and angular momentum relax from translational to internal motion.

More recently, Moretto's group was able to interpret multifragmentation in terms of a liquid-vapor phase diagram. "It turns out that nuclear matter does behave very much like a van der Waals fluid," he says. He says this work "closed the circle" on his career in chemistry because of his familiarity with phase diagrams as a young university student working endlessly in a lab. "All of a sudden, we took the world of nuclear physics into a more mundane and human frame of understanding," he says.

Also closing the circle is Moretto's hobby: using those grammar lessons to read classical Greek and Latin literature, which he enjoys every night.

The award will be presented before the Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology.--ALEXANDER TULLO

      2004 Glenn T. Seaborg Nuclear Chemistry Award

        Donald Fleming
      Department of Chemistry
 University of British Columbia

from Chemical & Engineering News, January 5, 2004  - Volume 82, Number 1

Sponsored by the ACS Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology

Donald G. Fleming is a high-tech ghost hunter. As a nuclear chemist, he studies minuscule particles that flicker into existence for only tiny fractions of seconds. But that's long enough for him to co-opt them for his groundbreaking probes of basic chemistry.

Fleming, a professor of nuclear and physical chemistry at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, is being recognized for his pioneering uses of muons in the probing of complex chemical problems.

Modern physics has discovered a bewildering menagerie of exotic subatomic particles. Fleming's particle of choice, the muon, is kin to the electron, but with 200 times the mass and a half-life of only 2 microseconds. A positive muon, though, acts much like a light proton in matter. When such a particle replaces a hydrogen nucleus, muonium is formed; at one-ninth the mass, muonium is light enough to probe chemical reactions with a sensitivity unmatched by more mundane atoms.

"As such, the muonium atom is the light isotope of hydrogen and provides for unique measurements of kinetic isotope effects at the most sensitive end of the mass scale," Fleming says. "Our study of the chemical reaction rates of the muonium atom impacts directly on theoretical understanding of quantum mass effects in chemical reactivity, and these data have provided truly stringent tests of chemical reaction rate theories."

Most of Fleming's data come from UBC's TRIUMF cyclotron, where physicists smash accelerated protons into nuclear targets such as beryllium or carbon nuclei. One possible outcome of the resulting nuclear minestrone is production of short-lived particles called pions, which subsequently decay into the muons Fleming uses.

He then has to work fast; a positive muon quickly decays into a positron and a pair of neutrinos. Fleming has used those short windows of time to study muonium in matter, particularly in low-pressure gases, simultaneously testing basic theories of chemical reactivity and molecular interaction. The technique he uses--and helped develop--is µSR, which can be thought of as a form of muon-based spectroscopy.

"The acronym was coined years ago to suggest analogies with magnetic resonance and stands for 'muon spin relaxation' or 'resonance' or 'rotation' or even 'research,'" Fleming explains. "It derives from the fact that the muon is produced 100% spin-polarized as a result of the nuclear weak interaction in pion decay." When a muon decays, the positron is emitted preferentially along the muon spin, "thus endowing muon decay with a sensitive indicator of the interaction of the muon spin with its environment, whether as the nucleus of the muonium atom or in some other environment."

In addition to his work in the gas phase, Fleming has also used µSR to study the spin relaxation and hyperfine coupling constants of stabilized polyatomic radicals, as well as the motional dynamics of free radicals in zeolites, heterogenous catalysts with a ubiquitous presence in the petrochemical industry.

Fleming, 65, received a bachelor's degree in 1961 and a master's in physical organic chemistry in 1963 from the University of British Columbia and a Ph.D. in nuclear chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1967. Two postdoctoral fellowships followed: the first at the Nuclear Structure Laboratory at the University of Rochester, N.Y.; the other at Niels Bohr Institute for Nuclear Physics at the University of Copenhagen. He returned to UBC in 1971, when TRIUMF was not much more than a hole in the ground, and has been a full professor of chemistry there since 1981.

The award address will be presented before the Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology.--AALOK MEHTA

from Chemical & Engineering News, January 27, 2003  - Volume 81, Number 04


Demetrios G. Sarantites 8104award.sarantites

If there's one area of chemistry that requires heavy instrumental artillery, it's nuclear chemistry. To probe an atom's guts, scientists need accelerators to split or fuse nuclei and blast them into new energy states. And a whole science of sophisticated detector systems arose from the need to examine the complex trails of gamma rays spit out by rapidly spinning and highly excited (hot) nuclei.

Over the past several decades, chemistry professor Demetrios G. Sarantites, at Washington University, in St. Louis, has invented some of the most important such detectors used by nuclear scientists. And thanks to these instruments, not only has Sarantites himself been able to gain major insights into nuclear structures and processes, but hosts of other scientists have been able to make important discoveries as well.

Sarantites was born in 1933 in Athens, Greece. He received a B.S. in chemical engineering and an M.S. in chemistry from the Technical University of Athens in 1956. After a three-year service at the Greek Naval Academy, he went to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was awarded a Ph.D. in nuclear and inorganic chemistry in 1963.

After postdoc positions at MIT and at Washington University, in 1964, Sarantites became an assistant professor at Washington University, where he has been ever since. Now a full professor, he has also held visiting professorships at the Nobel Institute of Physics in Stockholm; Niels Bohr Institute in Roskilde, Denmark; and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in Berkeley, Calif.

During the 1960s and '70s, Sarantites pioneered the use of germanium detectors for probing the nuclear structure of medium-sized atoms. In the early 1980s, he was responsible for the creation of the spin spectrometer, a groundbreaking spherical detector array installed at the Holifield Heavy Ion Research Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The spin spectrometer was the first to examine in great detail the gamma ray decay of excited nuclei.

Sarantites soon developed a spherical detector designed to measure the spectra of hydrogen and helium isotopes, known as the Dwarf Ball/Wall. This detector, used in combination with the spin spectrometer, gave scientists the ability to simultaneously monitor particles and gamma rays.

He also collaborated on the powerful, sophisticated Gammasphere detector system, an international project system at LBNL. In the 1990s, Sarantites developed the Microball, another small spherical detector that fit inside the Gammasphere. The two devices combined made for an extremely powerful, selective system. And with it, Sarantites was able to confirm the existence of the then-theorized "island of superdeformation" in rapidly spinning nuclei of around mass 80 and to study them extensively. He was also instrumental in the discovery and study of superdeformation in nuclei of mass 60, and very recently in mass 40.

Sarantites' latest device is Hercules, a new detector system used with the Gammasphere that can identify trans-lead and trans-actinide fusion products--a task made very difficult by their quick decay into fission products.

Throughout his illustrious 40-year career, Sarantites has also published over 250 papers and presented numerous lectures.

The award address will be presented before the Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology.--ELIZABETH WILSON

from Chemical & Engineering News, January 27, 2003  - Volume 81, Number 04

      2000 Glenn T. Seaborg Nuclear Chemistry Award

Richard G. "Dick" Hahn

Brookhaven National Laboratory

ACS Award for Nuclear Chemistry Sponsored by Gordon & Breach Publishing Group

On a summer day in 1945, 10-year-old RICHARD L. HAHN was riding the subway in New York City while a nearby commuter read the New York Times. It was a day Hahn will never forget. "I saw the front page of the paper, and the headline announced the dropping of the first atomic bomb over Japan," Hahn recalls. "That was the very moment I became interested in nuclear science, and I've been interested ever since."

Most recently, Hahn's interests led to his involvement with construction of the high-profile Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO), near Sudbury, Ontario. The observatory, located 6,800 feet underground, began operations last summer and is designed to detect neutrino interactions as they occur in real time. Hahn played a substantial role in designing the chemical aspects of the neutrino detector which contains 1,000 tons of pure heavy water, D2O in a 12-meter-wide transparent acrylic plastic vessel surrounded by 7,000 tons of purified light water, which acts as shielding.

Hahn also played a major role in designing and operating the international GALLEX Solar Neutrino Experiment, which operated a neutrino detector containing 30 tons of gallium in a 100-ton aqueous target at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Assergi, Italy. According to Hahn, the experiment which ended in 1997, led scientists to a deeper understanding of how the sun produces energy, as well as an understanding of the properties of neutrinos.

The results for GALLEX and the world's four other solar neutrino detectors have provided strong hints that the neutrino has a significant new property: nonzero mass. This potential for "new science" beyond current physics theories has generated great interest about neutrinos in the scientific community.

Before becoming interested in neutrinos, Hahn had already established himself as a prominent nuclear chemist. His areas of research have included the mechanisms of nuclear reactions induced by accelerated charged particles from protons to heavy ions up to uranium, charged-particle activation analysis, nuclear spectroscopy, discovery and characterization of new nuclides, solution chemistry of lanthanides and actinides, fission studies, and searches for super heavy elements.

In total, Hahn has published more than 100 articles on these and other subjects, as well as numerous articles in the World Book Encyclopedia aimed at students in grades seven through 12.

A native of New York City, Hahn studied nuclear chemistry at Columbia University where he received a Ph.D. degree in 1960. He left university life in 1960, taking a research associate position at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, N.Y. After leaving Brookhaven in 1962, Hahn joined the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, where he worked until 1987, serving in many positions, one of which was director of the Transuranium Research Laboratory from 1974 to 1984. In 1987, he returned to Brookhaven, where he continues his work today as a senior chemist.

As a visiting scientist, Hahn has worked in France, Germany, Italy, and Canada. He is an active member of several professional organizations and served as chairman of the American Chemical Society's Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology in 1980.

Among his other honors, Hahn was named a scholar in residence in 1983 by Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas, and received the Radiation Industry Award of the American Nuclear Society in 1977 for his research on charged-particle activation analysis.

Ronald Rogers:  from Chemical & Engineering News, January 17, 2000

Back to DNCT home page