Frank H. Spedding

"For his imaginative pioneering in the technology associated with the early atomic energy activities and his contributions to the extractive metallurgy of the rare earths."

AIME James Douglas Gold Medal in 1961

Frank H. Spedding, born in Hamilton, Ont., in 1902, received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1925, an M.S. in Analytical Chemistry in 1926, and a D.Sc. in 1949 from the University of Michigan. In 1929, he received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California; an L.L.D. from Drake University in 1946, and a D.Sc., in 1956 from the Case Institute of Technology. 

From 1930 to 1932, Dr. Spedding held a National Research Council Fellowship at the University of California, and, for two years, was Instructor in Chemistry. During 1934 and 1935, a Guggenheim Fellowship enabled him to study in or visit laboratories and Universities in England, Germany, Holland, Russia, and Japan. Later, he held a George Fisher Baker Assistant Professorship at Cornell. He then headed Physical Chemistry at what is now the Iowa State University of Science and Technology.

Just prior to World War II, Dr. Spedding's technical interests were focused in the rare earth field. To him and his staff at Iowa State was given the responsibility of developing a process for producing pure uranium and thorium metals to he used in the Chicago Plutonium Project; the first two million pounds of uranium metal were thus produced. He is a member of the Board of Argonne National Laboratory, of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Manhattan Project and is in various activities for the A.E.C. As a result of his studies, the ion exchange method has been raised to the stature of a usable commercial process. His work has been of greatest significance in disclosing the possible potentials in the whole group of rare earth elements. He is Director of The Institute for Atomic Research at the Ames Lahoratorv of the U.S.A.E.C. at Iowa State.