Oral History Interviews

Interviews that offer unique insights into the lives, works, and personalities of modern scientists

Charles Lauritsen discusses how he remembers deuterons getting their name.

Oral history audio excerpt

Charles Lauritsen discusses how he remembers deuterons getting their name.

Lauritsen:

I think they started about the same time we did. You see, we started out using protons, and I guess Lawrence did too. Then in the meantime, D. N. Lewis had made some deuterium and he gave each of us a little. Our first paper, think, is in October, ’33—at least the first paper with deuterium.

Weiner:

What's the title of that?

Lauritsen:

That's “Production of Neutrons by High Speed Deutons”, They were called deutons in those days.

Weiner:

How did that name get established, do you know? I heard some story about it.

Lauritsen:

Well, deuton was the first name used, and I’m not quite sure whether that was coined by Urey. At least it was by someone in this country. And Rutherford complained that the British always had a cold in the head so they couldn’t pronounce it, He wanted to call it deuteron. That’s the story I heard.