Charles Allen Thomas

Charles Allen Thomas

Charles Allen Thomas

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Charles Allen Thomas (February 15, 1900 – March 29, 1982) was a noted American chemist and businessman, and an important figure in the Manhattan Project.

Thomas was born on a farm in Scott County, Kentucky, the son of Charles Allen and Frances Carrick Thomas. He received his BA (1920) and an honorary D.Sc. (1933) from Transylvania College, with an intermediate MA (1924) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was first employed as a General Motors research chemist from 1923 to 1936, helping to create the tetra-ethyl lead compound long used in motor fuels, and at Thomas & Hochwalt Laboratories in Dayton, Ohio, from 1926 to 1936. He also served as vice-president of Dayton Synthetic Chemicals, Inc. from 1930-34, and at Carbosolve Corporation from 1931 to 1936. After Monsanto Company acquired Thomas and Hochwalt Laboratories in 1936 (making it into Monsanto's Central Research Department), he spent the rest of his career at Monsanto until his retirement in 1970, during which time he served as President (1951–60) and Chairman of the Board (1960–65).

He was married to Margaret Talbott.

From 1943 to 1945, he coordinated Manhattan Project work on plutonium purification and production and, as part of the Manhattan Project's Dayton Project, also coordinated development of techniques to industrially refine polonium for use with beryllium in the triggers of atomic weapons. In 1946 Dean Acheson appointed him to serve with Robert Oppenheimer, David Lilienthal, and others...
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