Epstein, Samuel (Geochemist)
- Existence: 1919 - 2001
Background: Caltech Professor of Geology, 1954-1990; Research Fellow, 1952-1954.
Description: Epstein was born in Poland. His family moved to Canada when he was seven. After his university years, Epstein worked for the Canadian Atomic Energy Project, where he was introduced to mass spectrometry by Harry Thode. Later, at the University of Chicago working with Harold Urey, Epstein became more involved in his pioneering work in isotopic geochemistry. He is known for his studies of the relative proportions of the stable isotopes of several elements. By analyzing the proportions of the different isotopes of hydrogen and carbon in meteorites, Epstein verified that they contained preserved organic compounds which were not only extraterrestrial in origin, but also compounds that were originally formed in interstellar space.
Collection Notes: Oral history, 1985-86. This 82-page oral history is based on three interviews and is primarily focused on Epstein's professional life at McMaster in Canada, at the University of Chicago, and at Caltech. It also includes information on the Geology Division in the 1950s and the evolution of geochemistry.
Papers. This collection is unprocessed.
Collection size: 48 boxes, 55 linear ft.
Inventory available at the archives.
Restrictions: Limited access (unprocessed).
Photo of Sam Epstein with the Geology faculty (PhotoNet)