5 January

Died on This Day

1943: George Washington Carver American agricultural scientist and inventor, died (born 1860). He actively promoted alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion. He was the most prominent black scientists of the early 20th century.

1981: Harold Urey (87) American scientist awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1934 for his discovery of deuterium, the heavy form of hydrogen (1932). He was active in the development of the atomic bomb. He contributed to the growing basis for the theory of what was widely accepted as the origin of the Earth and other planets. In 1953, Stanley L. Miller and Urey simulated the effect of lightning in the prebiotic atmosphere of Earth with an electrical discharge in a mixture of hydrogen, methane, ammonia, and water. This produced a rich mixture of aldehydes and carboxylic and amino acids (as found in proteins, adenine and other nucleic acid bases). Urey calculated the temperature of ancient oceans from the amount of certain isotopes in fossil shells.