Bertram Boltwood, US radiochemist

Bertram Boltwood, US radiochemist

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Credit: CHEMICAL HERITAGE FOUNDATION/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Bertram Borden Boltwood (1870-1927), US radiochemist. Boltwood studied chemistry at Yale, then at Munich and Leipzig. He taught at Yale from 1897 to 1900, then undertook research in a private laboratory in New Haven until 1906, returning to Yale in 1906 where he taught for the rest of his career. He became an authority on radiochemistry and radioactive elements, in particular in understanding the uranium decay series. A consequence of this was his pioneering use of lead/uranium (Pb:U) ratios to determine the age of rock samples. The radioactive mineral Boltwoodite is named after him. He was made a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1911.

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