This talk draws on Matthew Shindell’s new biography of Nobel Prize–winning chemist Harold C. Urey (1893–1981). Urey, one of the most famous American scientists of the 20th century, participated in some of the century’s most significant moments, including the Manhattan Project and NASA’s lunar exploration program. Shindell shines new light on Urey’s achievements and efforts to shape his public and private lives.
The talk 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. By exploring those efforts, as well as Urey’s evolution from farm boy to scientific celebrity, Shindell highlights broader changes in the social and intellectual landscape of 20th-century America.
Matthew Shindell, Curator of Planetary Science and Exploration at the National Air and Space Musuem
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