Manhattan Project Lecture: Life Of Scientist Harold Urey

The cover of the new biography of Nobel Prize-winning chemist Harold Urey (1893–1981), The Life and Science of Harold C. Urey, by Matthew Shindell. Courtesy/LAHS

Smithsonian Curator Matthew Shindell discusses Manhattan Project scientist Harold Urey online at 6 p.m., Oct. 13 as part of the Los Alamos Historical Society Lecture Series. Courtesy/LAHS

Los Alamos Historical Society News:

The community is invited to join the Los Alamos Historical Society online at 6 p.m., Oct. 13 for a fascinating look at the life of Manhattan Project scientist Harold Urey.

Smithsonian Curator Matthew Shindell discusses how the Manhattan Project shaped Urey on his path from farm boy to scientific celebrity.

Historical Society lectures are free, but registration is required to receive a Zoom link. Lectures are limited to 100 participants, so sign up early to reserve a spot.

To register, visit www.losalamoshistory.org/events and follow the links to the EventBrite page.

This talk draws from Shindell’s new biography of Nobel Prize-winning chemist Urey (1893–1981), The Life and Science of Harold C. Urey.

Urey was one of the most famous American scientists of the 20th century and 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. He follows Urey through his orthodox religious upbringing, the scientific work that won him the Nobel Prize, 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, listeners can discern broader changes in the social and intellectual landscape of twentieth century America.

Shindell is curator of Planetary Science at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. He co-hosts the museum’s podcast, AirSpace. He holds a PhD in History of Science and Science Studies from the University of California, San Diego, an MS in Biology and Society from Arizona State University, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Shindell has taught at Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, Georgetown University, the University of Southern California and UC San Diego.

The lecture series will continue with a 6 p.m. presentation Nov. 17 when Alex Wellerstein will present “The ‘Best-Kept Secret of the War’? The Successes and Failures of Manhattan Project Secrecy.”

The Los Alamos Historical Society lecture series is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Enterprise Bank & Trust, Member FDIC; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the New Mexico Humanities Council; and Robin and Richard McLean.

The Los Alamos Historical Society preserves, promotes and communicates the remarkable history and inspiring stories of Los Alamos and its people for our community, for the global audience, and for future generations. More information about the Historical Society can be found at www.losalamoshistory.org.

Stay up to date with the latest news from the Historical Society by following @LosAlamosHistory on Facebook and Instagram. Members make the work of the Historical Society possible. Become a member today at https://www.losalamoshistory.org/membership.html.

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