Harold Urey

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Harold Urey

Harold C. Urey (born April 29, 1893 in Wakerton, Indiana) was the son of Cora Reinoehl and Samuel Urey. He married Frieda Daum. He was a nuclear scientist at the University of Chicago's Institute of Nuclear Studies from 1945.

He has worked to abolish the House Committee on Un-American Activities and has been an outstanding critic of any and all security measures designed to guard against subversion and espionage directed against the United States nuclear weapons program. As did many scientists connected with the development of the A-bomb, Urey adopted the position that post-World War II development of atomic weapons should be halted and that scientific discoveries should be shared with the Soviet Union.[1]


In his field, Urey distinguished himself as the discoverer of the hydrogen atom of atomic weight two. And, in the development of the atomic bomb, Urey made his contribution through research on the production of heavy water and U235. He was awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry for 1934.

Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists

The Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists was formed in 1946 with the primary purpose of raising money for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Federation of American Scientists and other public-education activities of the atomic scientists.[2]

The following were members of the Committee:[2]

Federation of American Scientists

The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) was founded in 1945 by scientists who had worked on the Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bombs.

Hans Bethe, was one of the founders of FAS.[3] Leo Szilard, Philip Morrison, Richard L. Meier and Harold Urey[4] were others.

FAS was founded from the merger of thirteen smaller groups. It started with a membership of more than 2,000 scientists and an advisory panel that included Robert Oppenheimer, Harold Urey, Harlow Shapley, Smyth, Leo Szilard and Edward U. Condon.[5]

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

In 1949, Urey was listed as a founding sponsor for The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists journal.[6]

Urey was listed, as of May 4, 1971, as on the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.[7]

Communist Sympathizing

Urey demonstrated his sympathy for Communists by his appearance at a Paris gathering in 1947 of the World Federation of Scientific Workers, which was nothing but an international group of Communists and extreme pro-Communists.[1]

The Rosenberg Case

In the matter of the convicted atom bomb spies, the Rosenbergs, Urey gave the National Committee to Secure Justice in the Rosenberg Case its most dazzling propaganda contributions. Without having been present at the trial of the Rosenbergs and with no legal training at all by which to test his opinions, Urey, nevertheless, did not hesitate to declare flatly that,

"I never found the testimony of the Rosenbergs more believable than that of the Greenglasses."

Urey's statement, first contained in a letter to Judge Irving Kaufman and published in the New York Times Letters Column on Jan. 5, 1953, earned him banner headlines in the Daily Worker.[8]


Harold Urey has been associated with the following organizations:[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Biographical Dictionary of the Left, Francis X. Gannon, Vol. 1, p. 570
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Harrison Brown 1917 - 1986, March 1987 by John Holdren
  3. http://www.fas.org/about/index.html
  4. http://osulibrary.oregonstate.edu/specialcollections/coll/pauling/peace/narrative/page6.html
  5. Crucibles: the story of chemistry from ancient alchemy to nuclear fission By Bernard Jaffe, page 312
  6. Letter from Hans Bethe, Chairman of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Feb. 20, 1981
  7. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - administrative letter to Professor Joshua Lederberg, May 4, 1971
  8. House Committee on Un-American Activities, Trial by Treason, August 25, 1956, pp. 31-32