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Dr. Lawrence Elgin Glendenin

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Dr. Lawrence Elgin Glendenin, devoted husband, father and grandfather, a chemist and co-discoverer of Promethium, element 61 on the periodic table of elements. Died on Nov. 22, 2008, at the age of 90. He was a long-time resident of Downers Grove, IL, and more recently of Crystal Lake, IL. Dr. Lawrence E.

Glendenin was born in 1918 in Bay City, MI. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1941. A year later, he joined a secret government project with the code name Metallurgical Lab (Manhattan Project) at the University of Chicago as a research chemist. His group's task was to chemically separate, identify and characterize the radioactive properties of the elements found during nuclear fission. Dr. Glendenin was a co-discoverer of the element Promethium (element 61 on the periodic table). The discovery of Promethium occurred in 1945 while he was working on the Manhattan Project at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, TN.

Lawrence Glendenin and associates Jacob Marinsky and Charles Coryell isolated Promethium - a radioactive element and by-product of uranium fission. Promethium has limited commercial applications in the use of luminous materials such as watch dials and in batteries. The element Promethium was named after the titan Prometheus from Greek mythology, who stole fire from the gods. Dr. Glendenin was one of the many scientists of the Manhattan Project who signed the Szilárd petition. The petition urged President Truman to provide a demonstration of the atomic bomb's power on a non-populated area to urge a Japanese surrender so it would not have to be used against a city. He earned his doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1949. From 1949 to 1985, Dr. Glendenin was a senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory. During those years, he was appointed as the Scientific Secretary on the U.S. delegation to the Atoms for Peace Conference and was a recipient of the Glenn T. Seaborg Award for Nuclear Chemistry sponsored by the American Chemical Society in 1974. During Dr. Glendenin's career, he authored numerous research papers on the products of fission. Dr. Glendenin is survived by his wife of sixty-three years, Ethel Long

Glendenin of Crystal Lake, IL; his two daughters, Patricia Malon (Wayne) of Ballwin, MO and Lorrie Bollinger (Jeffrey) of Harvard, MA; his son, Charles Glendenin (Janet) of Algonquin, IL; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. His son David and son-in-law Jeffrey Bollinger preceded him in death. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the Lawrence E. Glendenin Memorial Fund at M.I.T.; whose purpose is to provide support scholarships for undergraduate chemistry students attending M.I.T. Checks should be mailed to Ms.

Bonny Kellermann, Director of the M.I.T. Office of Memorial Gifts, 600 Memorial Dr., Room W98-500, Cambridge, MA 02139.

Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication on Dec. 2, 2008
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