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January 5th marks the passing of Harold Urey. Urey was an American chemist who was awarded the 1934 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of deuterium.

Deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen. The most common form of hydrogen has one proton and no neutrons, but deuterium contains a proton and neutron in its nucleus. This isotope has the same chemical properties as hydrogen and can combine with oxygen to create water. Deuterium water is also known as 'heavy water'. Heavy water is used in many applications such as nuclear magnetic resonance, neutron moderation in nuclear power plants and organic chemistry.

Urey discovered deuterium by investigations of heavy water in 1931 and was important in the understanding of the concepts of isotopes. Find out what else occurred on this day in science history.


January 5, 2010 at 6:02 am
(1) ACSChair says:

Great column, science articles, etc. I wanted to let you know of a problem with your site and thought this might be the fastest way. When I clicked on the link to fifth grade science project ideas my computer was attacked by a serious virus. Fortunately my protection software took care of it. Some other unsuspecting people browsing the website for science ideas might not be so lucky. You need to take a look at getting that virus off the link.
Thanks again for a great site about science.

January 5, 2010 at 11:14 am
(2) Anne says:

The virus isn’t on the link… it’s associated with some ad. If I can figure out which ad I can report it and get the ad removed, but ads are served according to region and other factors, so I may or may not ever get it. Do you know which one it was?

January 5, 2010 at 4:09 pm
(3) Josh says:

Doesn’t the most common form of hydrogen only have one proton and no neutrons?

January 5, 2011 at 7:16 am
(4) Momeen khan says:

Hi Madam,

very interesting effort. full of knowledge both for teachers and students of lower & higher classes.

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