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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)

Found in 10 Collections and/or Records:

Samuel Epstein Papers

Identifier: 10159-MS
Abstract The working papers, correspondence, scientific data, teaching and biographical material of Samuel Epstein form the collection known as the Samuel Epstein Papers at the California Institute of Technology Archives. Epstein had a distinguished career in isotope geochemistry, resulting in the development of the carbonate paleotemperature scale, as well as the publication of some pioneering papers with regards to the measurements of paleotemperatures and of the isotopic composition of water in...
Dates: 1942-2002

Isotopes, Antarctic Ice & Ancient Climates

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: 1986-00195

Samuel Epstein Oral History Interview with Carol Buge [sound recording], 1985-12-19 - 1986-01-10

Scope and Contents An interview in three sessions, December 1985 and January 1986, with Samuel Epstein, William E. Leonhard Professor of Geochemistry in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences. Dr. Epstein received his BS (1941) and MS (1942) degrees from the University of Manitoba and his PhD (1944, with Carl Winkler) from McGill University. He became a research fellow at Caltech in 1952 and two years later joined the faculty as an associate professor. He received the Leonhard chair in 1984, retired...
Dates: 1985-12-19 - 1986-01-10

The Earth And Planets Conference

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: 1995-00098

The Next 80 Years

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: 1995-00099

Additional filters:

Unprocessed Material 5
Archival Object 4
Collection 1
Geology 5
Geochemistry 4
Manuscript Collection 2
Frontiers Of Science 1
Isotope geology 1
∨ more
Watson Lecture 1
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