Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: McMillan, Edwin Mattison
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

US physicist. In 1940 he discovered neptunium, the first transuranic element, by bombarding uranium with neutrons. He shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1951 with Glenn Seaborg for their discovery and work in the chemistry of transuranic elements.

In 1943 McMillan developed a method of overcoming the limitations of the cyclotron, the first accelerator, for which he shared, 20 years later, an Atoms for Peace award with I Veksler, director of the Soviet Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, who had come to the same discovery independently.

McMillan was born in Los Angeles and studied at the California Institute of Technology and Princeton. From 1932 he was on the staff at the University of California, as professor 1946–73, except during World War II when he worked on radar and Seaborg took up his work at Berkeley. The discovery of plutonium facilitated the construction of the first atom bomb, in which McMillan also took part.

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

Related Articles

Full text Article McMillan, Edwin Mattison (1907 - 1991)
The Cambridge Dictionary of Scientists

Educated at Caltech and Princeton, McMillan joined the University of California at Berkeley in 1935 and was there for the rest...

Full text Article McMillan, Edwin Mattison
Chambers Biographical Dictionary

1907-91 US atomic scientist and Nobel Prize winner Born in Redondo Beach, California, he was educated at the California Institute of Technology (Calt

Full text Article Seaborg, Glenn
American Biographies: American Scientists

(b. 1912–d. 1999) chemist, Atomic Energy Commission chairman, Lawrence Radiation Laboratory associate director, University of California, Berkeley c

See more from Credo