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Room 405 - George Herbert Jones Laboratory, The University of Chicago
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. National Historic Landmark
The Element Plutonium
George Herbert Jones Laboratory is located in Illinois
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Coordinates: 41°47′25.23″N 87°36′3.69″W / 41.7903417°N 87.601025°W / 41.7903417; -87.601025Coordinates: 41°47′25.23″N 87°36′3.69″W / 41.7903417°N 87.601025°W / 41.7903417; -87.601025
Built/Founded: 1942
Governing body: University of Chicago
Added to NRHP: May 28, 1967
NRHP Reference#: 67000005 [1]

The George Herbert Jones Laboratory, at 5747 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, is a facility building of the University of Chicago. Room 405 of the building was named a National Historic Landmark in May 1967.

The Jones Laboratory was built in 1928-1929 as facility and instructional space for the university's staff of research chemists and graduate students in chemistry.

As part of the U.S. War Department's Manhattan Project, University of Chicago chemists began to study the newly manufactured radioactive element, plutonium. Room 405 was the site where, for the first time, a trace quantity of this new element was isolated and measured in September 1942. This procedure enabled chemists to determine the new element's atomic weight.

Physicist Glenn Seaborg said of this event: "These memorable days will go down in scientific history to mark the first sight of a synthetic element, and the first isolation of a weighable amount of an artificially produced isotope of any element." Although strictly speaking correct, the quote is slightly misleading in that the first artificially produced element was technetium although it was not produced in a large enough quantity to be isolated and weighed.

The U.S. Department of Energy remediated Jones Laboratory in the 1980s by studying and removing almost all of the building's World War II-era radioactive waste. The remediation took place in 1982, 1983, and 1987. [2]

Although room 405 looks nothing like the original condition, the lobby of the laboratory maintains a collection of the specialized equipment used to perform the measurements.


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2006-03-15.  
  2. ^ [1].


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