Libby, Willard

Libby, Willard (Frank)

(1908–80) chemist; born in Grand Valley, Colo. He studied at the University of California: Berkeley and was teaching there when World War II took him to Columbia University to work on the atom bomb; he then taught at the University of Chicago (1945–54) before joining the faculty of the University of California: Los Angeles (1959–76). He served on the Atomic Energy Commission (1954–59). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry (1960) for his role in developing (beginning in 1939 at Berkeley) the carbon-14 method of determining the age of ancient objects crucial to archaeology.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.