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Libby, Willard

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Definition: Libby, Willard Frank from

The Macquarie Dictionary

1908-80, US chemist; Nobel prize for chemistry, 1960, for developing the radiocarbon dating technique.

Summary Article: Libby, Willard Frank (1908-1980) from The Hutchinson Dictionary of Scientific Biography
US chemist best known for developing the technique of radiocarbon dating, for which he was awarded the 1960 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Libby was born in Grand Valley, Colorado, on 17 December 1908, the son of a farmer. He received his university education at the University of California, Berkeley, from which he graduated in 1931 and gained his PhD in 1933. He then took a teaching appointment at Berkeley and in 1941, soon after the outbreak of World War II, moved to Columbia University, New York, to work on the development of the atomic bomb (the Manhattan Project). After the war, in 1945, he became professor of chemistry at the University of Chicago's Institute for Nuclear Studies. From 1954 to 1959 he was a member of the US Atomic Energy Commission, then in 1959 he returned to the University of California to become director of the Institute of Geophysics. He died in Los Angeles on 8 September 1980. During the early 1940s at Columbia Libby worked on the separation of uranium isotopes...    Continue Reading

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