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Clair Patterson

Clair Patterson

June 2, 1922 – December 5, 1995
Location: Mitchellville, IA
Education: Grinnell College
Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Chicago
Field: Geochemistry
Known For: uranium-lead dating
Awards:Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, 1995
Goldschmidt Medal of the Geochemical Society, 1980
J. Lawrence Smith Medal of the National Academy of Sciences, 1973






A chemist, Patterson was one of the scientists in determining the age of Earth by studying the lead in rock and meteorite. He is also credited with the idea of a “clean lab” after discovering that objects containing lead, such as pipes, could contaminate his finding. This effort also Patterson to find the unhealthy levels of lead in everyday objects and the atmosphere. Patterson used his findings to influence the decision to remove lead from gasoline.

Further Information

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