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Frank Harold Spedding

Frank H. and Ethel A. Spedding Scholarships in Physical Science and History

Frank Spedding
Frank H. Spedding

Dr. Frank H. Spedding was a faculty member at Iowa State College (now Iowa State University) from 1937-68. He is one of the fathers of the atomic bomb and founder of the Ames Laboratory on the Iowa State campus.

He played a pivotal role in the Manhattan Project, the American effort to develop the atomic bomb during World War II. His major contribution to the project was creating the technology that made possible large-scale production of metallic uranium, including Uranium 235, the explosive material used in the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

He is recognized and honored for the impact he had on the understanding of spectra of rare-earth elements; for the major leadership and scientific role he played in important process development and production of pure metals during the war, especially uranium and thorium; for the separation of the rare-earth elements and provision of them as high-quality salts and metals; and for major scientific studies of many aspects of the chemistry and physics of rare-earth compounds.

Spedding also established the national Ames Laboratory for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (now the Department of Energy). He was the first director of the Ames Laboratory, which grew out of Iowa State's involvement with the Manhattan Project. He directed the facility from 1948-68.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Spedding was an Iowa State distinguished professor and professor of chemistry, material sciences and engineering, and physics. He was nominated several times for the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

Spedding received his bachelor's (chemical engineering) and master's (analytical chemistry) degrees from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.


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