History

The use of stable isotope measurements are closely linked to the development of modern physics and the discovery of the neutron in 1932 by Harold Urey.  After the publication of Harold Urey’s paper in 1947, “The Thermodynamic Properties of Isotopic Substances”, and Bigeleisen and Mayer’s paper “Calculation of equilibrium constants for isotopic exchange reactions”, the isotope revolution started and the history of stable isotope geochemistry have been written since.

In Sweden stable isotope measurements (and also the whole field of isotope geology) was introduced by Frans Erik Wickman, who was professor at the Museum of Natural History in 1947–1967, at Pennsylvania State University 1967–1974 and at Stockholm University 1974–1980. FE Wickman was a visionary person and has published many scientific pioneering works. The first isotope ratio mass spectrometers in Stockholm were installed at the Museum of Natural History, but in the early 1990s the first stable isotope mass spectrometer (a Finnigan Delta E) was installed at IGV. In 1996 Jan Backman envisioned that IGV should have an isotope laboratory and received shortly thereafter a major grant. 1997 IGV moved from Kungstensgatan 45 to the main campus area in Frescati where the two new instruments were installed. About a decade later Patrick Crill received a grant for two more instruments and since then other instruments have been added to the analytical capabilities at SIL.

Department of Geological Sciences
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