Cloth $27.50 ISBN: 9780226662084 Will Publish December 2019
E-book $27.50 Available for pre-order. ISBN: 9780226662114 Will Publish December 2019

The Life and Science of Harold C. Urey

Matthew Shindell

The Life and Science of Harold C. Urey

Matthew Shindell

248 pages | 12 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2019
Cloth $27.50 ISBN: 9780226662084 Will Publish December 2019
E-book $27.50 ISBN: 9780226662114 Will Publish December 2019
Harold C. Urey (1893–1981) was one of the most famous American scientists of the twentieth century. Awarded the Nobel Prize in 1934 for his discovery of deuterium and heavy water, Urey later participated in the Manhattan Project and NASA’s lunar exploration program. In this, the first ever biography of the chemist, Matthew Shindell shines new light on Urey’s achievements and efforts to shape his public and private lives.

Shindell follows Urey through his orthodox religious upbringing, the scientific work that won him the Nobel, and his subsequent efforts to use his fame to intervene in political, social, and scientific matters. At times, Urey succeeded, including when he helped create the fields of isotope geochemistry and cosmochemistry. But other endeavors, such as his promotion of world governance of atomic weapons, failed. By exploring those efforts, as well as Urey’s evolution from farm boy to scientific celebrity, we can discern broader changes in the social and intellectual landscape of twentieth-century America. More than a life story, this book immerses readers in the struggles and triumphs of not only an extraordinary man, but also his extraordinary times.
Introduction       The Making and Remaking of an American Chemist

One       From Farm Boy to Wartime Chemist

Two       From Industrial Chemistry to Copenhagen

Three    From Novice in Europe to Expert in America

Four       From Nobel Laureate to Manhattan Project Burnout

Five        A Separation Man No More

Six          A Return to Science

Seven   To Hell with the Moon!

Epilogue               A Life in Science



List of Archives

List of Oral History Interviews


Review Quotes
Michael D. Gordin, Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History, Princeton University
"Harold Urey was simultaneously a towering figure in American science yet never quite fit into the categories imposed on him. Shindell vibrantly revives Urey’s story of science, politics, religion, and humanity across the American century."
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