Edwin McMillan Biography
Birthday: September 18, 1907 (Virgo)
Born In: Redondo Beach, California, United States
Edwin Mattison McMillan was an American nuclear physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1951 for discovering the chemistry behind trans-uranium elements and ‘element 93’ also called ‘Neptunium’ which was heavier than uranium. He shared the prize with another nuclear physicist, Glenn T. Seaborg. The discovery of ‘Neptunium’ and other trans-uranium elements later provided a great source of nuclear energy and enhanced the study of nuclear theory and chemistry. He also discovered another trans-uranium element called ‘element 94’ or ‘Plutonium’ with help from Arthur C. Wahl, Joseph W. Kennedy and Glenn T. Seaborg. These discoveries could be announced only after the World War II due to reasons of national security. He was the first person to suggest the idea of ‘phase-stability’ which led to the development of the ‘synchroton’ and ‘syncro-cyclotron’ machines. These machines were later used to increase the energies of particles that were accelerated artificially in the machines by hundreds of MeV. The ‘cyclotron’ machine invented by Ernest Lawrence had reached its limit as the atomic particles accelerated in an ever-widening spiral could not attain a velocity beyond a certain point and went out of synchronization with respect to the electrical pulses. McMillan found out a way of maintaining the synchronization for indefinite speeds in a machine co-invented with Vladimir Veksler and named it ‘synchro-cyclotron’.