Revolutionized archaeology and paleontology with carbon-14 dating

The discovery that ancient organic materials could be dated based on the abundance of an isotope of carbon—called carbon-14 dating—has had revolutionary implications for archaeology and paleontology. Chemist Willard F. Libby won the Nobel Prize for this work in 1960.

Willard F. Libby, Professor in Chemistry


The Charles M. Harper Center, home of Chicago Booth

Established the first business school scholarship for minorities

In 1964, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business became the first business school to establish a minority scholarship program.


Developed the efficient market hypothesis

The efficient market hypothesis, the early 1960s brainchild of economist and Nobel laureate Eugene Fama, MBA’64, PhD’64, posits that prices in the market reflect all available information, as rational investors seek and quickly respond to that information. This idea has contributed greatly to the creation of indexed funds as an effective strategy of investment.

Nobel laureate Eugene Fama, the Robert R. McCormick Distinguished Service Professor of Finance in Chicago Booth


Donald F. Steiner, the A. N. Pritzker Distinguished Service Professor in Medicine and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Discovered proinsulin, advancing diabetes treatment

Biochemist Donald F. Steiner, SM’56, MD’56, discovered proinsulin, the first “pro-hormone” and precursor to insulin. The 1965 finding led to the synthetic production of human insulin, markedly improving therapy for diabetes sufferers, and laid the groundwork for improved understanding of how other proteins in the body are made.


Awarded top international mathematics medal for developing a mathematical technique called forcing

Mathematician Paul Joseph Cohen, MS’54, PhD’58, was awarded the Fields Medal in 1966 for his development of a mathematical technique called forcing, which he used to prove the independence of the continuum hypothesis from the other axioms of set theory. The Fields Medal is given every four years to the most distinguished mathematician age 40 or under. It is regarded as the highest professional honor a mathematician can attain.

Paul Joseph Cohen, MS’54, PhD’58


Surveyor V probe on Earth

Determined the moon’s surface composition

In 1967, the University’s alpha scattering experiment aboard the robotic Surveyor V probe bombarded the moon’s surface with subatomic particles to determine the composition of the lunar surface—two years before Apollo 11 returned lunar samples to Earth.


Inaugurated the first Jewish president of a major US university

Law professor Edward H. Levi, LAB’28, AB’32, JD’35, who had served as dean of the Law School and University Provost, was inaugurated president of the University of Chicago in 1968, becoming the first Jewish president of a major university in the United States. In February 1975, Levi became Attorney General of the United States in the Ford Administration.

Edward H. Levi, President of the University of Chicago, 1968–75


Members of the University of Chicago Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GALA) take part in the 1991 Chicago Pride Parade.

Founded influential gay liberation organization

In 1969, UChicago students formed the University of Chicago Gay Liberation Front, establishing one of Chicago’s first gay liberation organizations. The group helped organize the city’s first Pride Parade in June 1969 and was instrumental in the passage of the 1988 Chicago Human Rights Ordinance, which protects lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodation.