99-Year-old Atomic Scientist: “Give Everyone A Free Supply of Vitamin C”


“… a free supply of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) to every person would lower the cost of health care in a major way…”


Another Genius’s gift to humanity

 By Owen R. Fonorow – Vitamin C Foundation


The Vitamin C Foundation received this letter from Dr. Jorgensen in 2003.  As he tells us, he was age 99, a physicist and he helped develop the atomic bomb as a member of the Manhattan Project.  

Theodore P. Jorgensen
4932 High Street
Lincoln, Nebraska, 68506

To whom it may concern,

What I am about to tell you is difficult for me to write; however I hope you will understand why I have written it. This letter concerns vitally important ideas, far more than one could imagine. The calendar tells me that I am in my 99th year (this is not a misprint) and as such I feel compelled tell you a few things about myself.

I am a retired physics professor, with a Ph.D. from Harvard. I spent the war years working on the Atomic Bomb at Los Alamos. On my return to teaching, I originated and directed an atomic accelerator project at the University of Nebraska, which continues to be financed to the present time by the Federal Government. I was retired from the University in my 70th year. Since that time, my mental activities have mainly involved studying the swing of a golf club; which allowed me to write a best seller on the Physics of Golf.

I grew up on a subsistence homestead in northwestern South Dakota. The many grasshoppers on the prairie inspired my mother to feed them to our turkeys; which led her to discover the turkeys laid fertile turkey eggs only when fed cod-liver oil. She fed it not only to her turkeys, but also to her five children. Thus, at the age of thirteen years, I became interested in nutrition.

Vitamin C was discovered to be ascorbic acid in 1931. Shortly after, chemistry developed to the stage where this substance could be synthesized. When a supply of pure ascorbic acid was obtained, this substance was used in medical research. Unfortunately, the substance was thought to be a vitamin and since it was known that vitamins were effective in very small amounts, for many years only small amounts of the substance were used in research. Many years later, it was discovered that ascorbic acid could be used to produce fabulous results when used correctly in medical and clinical research.

It was also discovered that Vitamin C was not a poisonous substance when used in the human body. We learned that solutions of ascorbic acid, in proper concentrations, would kill bacteria and viruses. Happily; a patient’s blood could, through the proper use of ascorbic acid, also kill bacteria and viruses. However, the concentration needed in specific cases had to be determined.

It was determined that most animals produce their own ascorbic acid; and that human beings, apes, monkeys, and guinea pigs do not produce any. A conclusion was drawn that animals that could not make ascorbic acid had a genetic defect involving one enzyme, which was lost millions of years ago. This enzyme was not necessary then, as ascorbic acid was easy to be obtained in the available food sources.

It was decided that the Recommended Daily Allowance, or RDA, for a healthy human male would be arbitrarily set at the 60 mg per day. The rate chosen for monkeys was substantially larger than that for humans.

The amount of ascorbic acid needed for a man to have optimum health is unknown. Some idea of the amount he should have would be determined by the amount his body would make, if the human body had this natural ability. This leads to the consideration of the rate of ascorbic acid made by healthy animals. Such studies have been made and the values range far above those of the current RDA for humans.

Another effect of ascorbic acid must be mentioned. The level of cholesterol in a person’s blood varies inversely with the level of the ascorbic acid in the blood. When I learned of this, I decided to perform an experiment on myself. My cholesterol level had been running at 240 units for several years. My doctor told me he could give me a drug to lower the cholesterol level, but he was afraid of the damage that might be done by the drug. An experiment had been reported that a person’s cholesterol level depended on the amount of white sugar ingested. With this information in mind, I decided to eliminate sucrose in my diet as much as possible, while I arbitrarily set my intake of ascorbic acid at five grams per day. Much to my doctor’s surprise, my cholesterol level fell from 240 units to 180 units. Additionally, I have not had a cold since beginning to take the ascorbic acid. I know of similar experiments with similar results.

When I learned that a solution of ascorbic acid, in a proper concentration, has properties for killing both bacteria and viruses; and that the concentration of ascorbic acid in a person’s blood could be adjusted to such a concentration by the amount of ascorbic acid ingested, I hoped to seek out confirmation of these findings within medical literature.

Dr. Robert F. Cathcart of Los Altos, California has found a method of determining the amount of ascorbic acid to be used in any given case. His findings indicated that the amount of ascorbic acid to use was just less than the amount which would produce a laxative effect in the patient. Dr. Cathcart reported that he has treated 9,000 patients with various infections, and not a single patient treated with ascorbic acid had to be hospitalized. Other reports exist by doctors who have had phenomenal similar effects, in which they determined the amount of ascorbic acid by trial.

In order to determine the amount of ascorbic acid human beings should take, research was done to identify which other animals made ascorbic acid for their own use. The result of this study determined the value of ascorbic acid at 2.3 to 10 grams per 154-pound man in good health.

It is virtually impossible for any person to obtain this much ascorbic acid per day from ordinary or casual ways. This also indicates that human beings are living with dangerously low levels of ascorbic acid. The above information provides some explanation for the reason our cost of health care is so high and our average age of death is so low. I believe that this problem is a national disgrace, and should be challenged on a national basis. I believe that here are two reasons why this should be done.

One reason is that a free supply of ascorbic acid to every person would lower the cost of health care in a substantial way.

The other is that we are in the age of possible terrorist attacks with chemical and biological agents, both bacterial and viral. We are vulnerable to these attacks because we have not applied and extended the knowledge we do have to the practice of medicine. However, any practical approach to the ascorbic acid problem would require the cooperation, prestige, and authority of the federal government.

I can only leave the possible solutions to these problems of public health, and the implementation of corrections, to our younger generations. As I hope you can hear, I believe we can and should work towards a solution. Have I convinced you of this possibility, too?

Theodore P. Jorgensen
4932 High Street
Lincoln, Nebraska, 68506


The cost to implement Dr. Jorgensen’s plan is modest, we estimate it would cost the Federal government approximately 300 million dollars per month.

The math goes like this:  Currently, the wholesale price of vitamin C averages $10/kilogram. If the government program provided three grams per day, the Vitamin C Foundations Recommended Dietary Allowance,  or 100 grams per month to allow a little extra to cover illness, the cost per citizen per month is $1.

Houston, we have a problem.

The little known  strategic fact is that mainland China has attained a virtual monopoly on vitamin C production. The last United States vitamin C bulk manufacturing plant (DSM, formerly Roche in Belvidere New Jersey) was forced to close in in 2005, reportedly because of the cost of EPA pollution rules.

A high priority for the health and welfare of the United states of America  is changing EPA rules to allow reopening the New Jersey plant, (or invest in opening a similar vitamin C plant)  in the United States.

The “Jorgensen Plan” could then be implemented in honor of a true American hero.


Theodore “Ted” P. Jorgensen was a physics graduate and professor. During World War II, he joined the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Jorgensen was born in Connecticut in 1905, and was the oldest of five children. In 1923, he followed in the footsteps of his mother, Willa Cather scholar Annie Prey Jorgensen, and enrolled at University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Jorgensen earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from UNL in 1928, then a Masters Degree in Physics in 1930. In 1935, he earned a doctorate in Physics from Harvard University. He first taught at Harvard from 1935-36. He also worked as an assistant professor at Clark University from 1936-38 before returning to UNL in 1938.
During World War II, Jorgensen joined the Manhattan Project to work on the development of the atomic bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico. From 1943 to 1946, he worked on the top-secret project, measuring photo exposures to estimate the yield of the atomic bombs. These bombs would eventually be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.
Jorgensen returned to Lincoln a few years after the war and designed and built his home, “which featured a tilted roof – the specifications of which he calculated himself – that allowed sunlight to shine inside the windows during the winter months but not during the summer” (Perez 2006).
He returned to UNL as an associate professor in 1946, and advanced to full professor in 1950. After his first wife died, Jorgensen married his second wife, Dorothy, in 1960 and brought her three stepchildren into his family.
During his tenure, Jorgensen supervised the construction of an atomic accelerator at UNL. The project allowed for the beginning of the university’s internationally recognized atomic collisions program.
Those who knew Jorgensen described his teaching style as one intended to inspire curiosity, motivation, and independent thinking. Jorgensen was chair of Physics and Astronomy department at the University of Nebraska from 1949 to 1953. He also studied golf for 30 years before writing “The Physics of Golf” in 1994. He retired on April 11, 1975 and was 100 years old when he died on April 4, 2006; however his work and passion continues to live on today.


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