Darleane C. Hoffman
Darleane Christian

(1926-11-08) November 8, 1926 (age 97)
Alma materIowa State University
Scientific career
FieldsNuclear chemistry
InstitutionsLos Alamos National Laboratory
University of California, Berkeley

Darleane Christian Hoffman (born November 8, 1926) is an American nuclear chemist who was among the researchers who confirmed the existence of seaborgium, element 106. She is a faculty senior scientist in the Nuclear Science Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a professor in the graduate school at UC Berkeley.[1] In acknowledgment of her many achievements, Discover magazine recognized her in 2002 as one of the 50 most important women in science.[2]

Early life and education

She was born as Darleane Christian on November 8, 1926, at home in the small town of Terril, Iowa, and is the daughter of Carl B. and Elverna Clute Christian.[3] Her father was a mathematics teacher and superintendent of schools; her mother wrote and directed plays.

When she was a freshman in college at Iowa State College (now Iowa State University), she took a required chemistry course taught by Nellie May Naylor,[4] and decided to pursue further study in that field.[5] She received her B. S. (1948) and Ph. D. (1951) degrees in chemistry (nuclear) from Iowa State University.[6]


Darleane C. Hoffman was a chemist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for a year and then joined her husband at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory where—after an extensive delay where she was denied access to the laboratory because the human resources department refused to believe that a woman could be a chemist[7]—she began as a staff member in 1953. She became Division Leader of the Chemistry and Nuclear Chemistry Division (Isotope and Nuclear Chemistry Division) in 1979.[8] She left Los Alamos in 1984 to accept appointments as tenured professor in the department of chemistry at UC Berkeley and Leader of the Heavy Element Nuclear & Radiochemistry Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Additionally, she helped found the Seaborg Institute for Transactinium Science at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1991 and became its first director, serving until 1996 when she "retired" to become Senior Advisor and Charter Director.[9]

Over her career, Hoffman studied the chemical and nuclear properties of transuranium elements and confirmed the existence of seaborgium.[10]

Personal life

Right after finishing her doctoral work, Darleane Christian married Marvin M. Hoffman, a physicist.[5][6] The Hoffmans had two children, Maureane Hoffman, M.D., Ph.D (Duke Medical School) and Dr. Daryl Hoffman (plastic surgeon),[11] both born at Los Alamos.[12]

Awards and memberships

She is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.[15]


  1. ^ "Darleane Hoffman, Harold Johnston to Receive National Medal of Science". www.lbl.gov. Archived from the original on 2005-11-16. Retrieved 2006-09-24.
  2. ^ Svitil, Kathy (13 November 2002). "The 50 Most Important Women in Science". Discover. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  3. ^ ""Elverna E. Christian," Plaza of Heroines, Iowa State University". iastate.edu.
  4. ^ "Nellie May Naylor". History of Iowa State: People of Distinction. Iowa State University. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Darleane Hoffman: Adventures in the nature of matter". Catalyst Magazine. 6 (2). College of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley. 1 February 2012. Archived from the original on 6 March 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Darleane C. Hoffman". Science History Institute. 2016-06-01. Retrieved 2018-11-20.
  7. ^ The element that never was, by Kit Chapman, in Chemistry World; published June 10, 2019; retrieved November 23, 2022
  8. ^ "Collection: Darleane C. Hoffman papers | Iowa State University - ArchivesSpace". cardinal.lib.iastate.edu. Retrieved 2021-09-01.
  9. ^ "Keynote speaker: D. Hoffman, Ph.D." LLNL 2020: Women Forging the Future of Science and Technology. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Archived from the original on 4 August 2004. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  10. ^ Stu Borman (2017-09-11). "Women overlooked for Nobel honors". C&EN Global Enterprise. 95 (36): 22–24. doi:10.1021/cen-09536-scitech2. ISSN 2474-7408.
  11. ^ "Darleane (Christian) Hoffman – SJY Group". cyclotron.tamu.edu. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  12. ^ Darleane (Christian) Hoffman bio page Archived 2010-06-12 at the Wayback Machine, Cyclotron Institute, Texas A&M University
  13. ^ "Biden-Harris Administration Announces Recipients of the Enrico Fermi Award | OSTP". The White House. Retrieved 2023-03-28.
  14. ^ Energy, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, for the U. S. Department of. "A short history of women at Los Alamos". www.lanl.gov. Retrieved 2019-06-17.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "Gruppe 8: Teknologiske fag" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 7 October 2010.