July 23, 1916–September 7, 2002
BY R. STEPHEN BERRY, ROBERT N. CLAYTON, GEORGE A. COWAN, AND THANASIS E. ECONOMOU
ANTHONY LEONID (“TONY”) TURKEVICH WAS born in New York City in 1916, one of three children of a Russian Orthodox clergyman, Leonid Turkevich, who became head of the entire Russian Orthodox Church in North America and Japan. Tony went to Dartmouth College for his undergraduate studies, completing his B.A. in 1937. From there he went to Princeton, working with J. Y. Beach on structures of small molecules for his Ph.D., which he received in 1940. Turkevich then went to Robert Mulliken in the Department of Physics at the University of Chicago as a research assistant, studying molecular spectroscopy. He also worked on the radiochemistry of fission products.
Soon after the outbreak of World War II Tony joined the Manhattan Project as one of its youngest scientists. In 1942 he worked at Columbia and the next year went to the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago where he stayed until 1945, when he moved on to Los Alamos. During that period Turkevich worked closely with Charles P. Smyth and Enrico Fermi. At Chicago he studied the separation of uranium isotopes by gaseous diffusion of the volatile uranium hexafluoride. He also studied the radiochemistry of reactor products, including plutonium produced by neutron