Bertram Boltwood

Academic

1870 – 1927

35

Who was Bertram Boltwood?

Bertram Borden Boltwood was an American pioneer of radiochemistry.

He graduated from Yale University, and taught there 1897-1900. He established that lead was the final decay product of uranium, noted that the lead-uranium ratio was greater in older rocks and, acting on a suggestion by Ernest Rutherford, was the first to measure the age of rocks by the decay of uranium to lead, in 1907. He got results of ages of 400 to 2200 million years, the first success of radiometric dating. More recently, older mineral deposits have been dated to about 4.4 billion years old, close to the best estimate of the age of earth.

Boltwoodite is named after him.

In his later days, Boltwood suffered from depression and committed suicide on August 15, 1927.

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Born
Jul 27, 1870
Amherst
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Education
  • Yale University
Died
Aug 15, 1927

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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