Paul Aebersold

Paul AebersoldIn hmolscience, Paul Aebersold (1910-1967) was an American biophysicist noted for his 1930s work on the production and application of the first radioactive materials (sodium-24 and phosphorus-32) administered to humans, resulting in his so-called atomic “turnover rate” studies based model of the metabolic-themed material composition of a human or human molecule. In 1949, Aebersold, in his “Atomic Energy Benefits: Radioisotopes” address, stated following: [1]

“Everyone should be interested in atoms. We are much more intimate with atoms than we realize. They make up all the air we breathe, all the food we eat, our flesh and blood and bone, and everything around us — in fact, all the matter in the world, the planets, the stars and the far away galactic universes. Each of us from a purely physical standpoint is a large batch atoms.”

This "batch of atoms" description of a human, to note, is similar to the recent "bag of chemicals" description seen being employed. He continues:

“The atoms now in your body are being replaced by new atoms at an amazingly rapid rate — at such a rate that in another year ... Before we go into more detail about the terrific traffic of atoms in your body — for that matter, the rapid atomic turnover in all forms of life, in even the simplest organisms — let us pause for some background information that may forestall the quite justified unbelief you may have concerning these startling facts. How do we know all this? How do we follow all the fast and complicated maneuvers that atoms enter into in our bodies and other complex systems?”
Paul Aebersold (at computer)
Aebersold at his computer station, either at Berkeley Radiation Laboratory or at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, where at he did his pioneering experiments done with radioisotopes and the tracing of elements in and out of the body, finding that atoms in animate organisms have a 98 percent per year atomic turnover rate. [3]

Later, following further discussion, Aebersold clarifies:

“Among stable elements from hydrogen, element number one, to bismuth, element number 83, there are now known 284 stable species of atoms or isotopes. Actually, therefore, we are not just composed of atoms, but of a number of different forms of atoms, or isotopes. We are composed of stable isotopes of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, calcium, and so forth. Hence, in terms of physics, you are not just a batch of atoms but a batch of ‘stable isotopes’!”

Aebersold completed his AB in physics at Stanford University and his PhD in biophysics in 1939, in the area of the production and application of the first radioactive materials (sodium-24 and phosphorus-32) administered to humans, at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a member of the group under American physicist Ernest Lawrence, the 1932 inventor of the cyclotron.

Aebersold stayed at Berkeley to do post-doctoral work on radioisotopes, investigated the properties of biological reactions resulting from fast neutron beams, and was a research associate in the Radiation Laboratory at Berkeley where he was in charge of operating the 60-inch cyclotron. In 1946, Aebersold became chief of the Isotope Branch at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, Oak Ridge. In 1957, Aebersold transferred to Washington D.C. to eventually become, in 1962, the Director of the Atomic Energy Commission’s division of isotopes development. [2]

1. Aebersold, Paul C. (1949). “Atomic Energy Benefits: Radioisotopes”, address before the teachers in service course on atomic energy, Apr 7, New York City, in: Atoms at Work – Part I: Power From the Atom (by Dubridge), Part II: Atomic Energy Benefits: Radioisotopes (by Aebersold) (turnover rate, pg. 11, batch of atoms, pg. 13). Murray & Gee, 1950.
2. Seaborg, Glenn T. (1968). “Paul C. Aebersold (1910-1967)” (abs), Radiation research, 33(3):677-79.
3. The Paul C. Aebersold Papers – Cushing Memorial Library and Archives.

External links
‚óŹ Aebersold, Paul C. (Paul Clarence) 1910-1967 – WorldCat Identities.

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