Dr. Firestone was born in Los Angeles, CA and raised in Evanston, IL where he attended Evanston Township High School. He attended The University of Michigan where he received a B.S. in Chemistry in 1967, and Michigan State University where he received a Ph.D. in Nuclear Chemistry in 1974. After a postdoctoral position at MSU, he took a faculty position there, 1978-1979, before moving to a Staff Scientist position at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where he became group leader of the Isotopes Project until his retirement in 2013. Since then Dr. Firestone has been a research consultant to the University of California, Berkeley, Department of Nuclear Engineering. He also has served as a consultant to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the US Department of Energy.
Dr. Firestone's research has spanned a broad range of interests including nuclear spectroscopy, nuclear data, prompt gamma-ray activation analysis, neutron reactions, denitrification, recent catastrophic bolide impacts on Earth, and near-Earth supernovae explosions.
He has written or edited four books:
In addition, Dr. Firestone has published over 400 research papers and his work has received over 10,000 citations.