In 1891, Herbert H. Dow discovers way to produce bromine, opening the doors for major chemical production in the U.S.
This scientist developed a way to extract oxygen from the air, making it available to hospitals and industries and for use as rocket fuel.
Fermium, a radioactive rare earth metal, was first isolated and identified by scientists in 1953 at University of California, Berkeley.
In 1911, Nobel Laureate Marie Curie’s nomination to the French Academy of Sciences is rejected by the Academy’s all-male membership.
Kathleen Yardley Lonsdale determined the crystal pattern of molecules using X-ray crystallography, part of a lifetime of fundamental contributions to the study of the of molecules using x-rays.
Leaded gasoline hit the U.S. market in Dayton, OH, 1923, when Thomas Midgley, Jr., of General Motors Research labs added tetraethyllead to gasoline.
Adam’s Peak Pilgrimage, Sri Lanka: Pilgrims of all religions flock to climb the steps on this steep mountain path, which is illuminated with light.
British radiochemist Frederick Soddy coins the word “isotope” for elements that appeared to occupy the same place on the periodic table.
In 1990, the U.S. space probe Voyager I captured a series of photographs of the sun on a voyage to the edge of the Solar System. Today, scientists are working to develop new materials and strategies for designing photovoltaic systems that convert sunlight into electricity.
In 1897, Ferdinand Braun published a paper in the journal Annalen der Physik und Chemie describing his “Braun tube,” which was the first cathode-ray oscilloscope. He developed this as a method to record and study the time dependence of alternating currents.
In 1773, Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier described a new nomenclature for chemistry which clarified the distinction between elements and compounds.
Physicist Albert Einstein, born this day in 1879, made contributions to the development of modern chemistry as well. His explanation of the photoelectric effect became the basis of the quantitative laws of photochemistry, as noted in this 2005 article.
Norbert Rillieux’s strange-sounding invention, the Multiple Effect Evaporator under Vacuum, revolutionized sugar processing, making it safer, cheaper, and more efficient.
Gilman Hall, chemistry building at the University of California, Berkeley, dedicated in 1918. Research done here has resulted in two Nobel Prizes.
Frédéric Joliot-Curie worked with Marie Curie and married her daughter, Irène Curie. He and Irène did research on the structure of the atom, garnering the pair a Nobel Prize in 1935.
An experiment performed by Robert Millikan in 1909 determined the size of the charge on an electron. He received the Nobel Prize for his work.
In 1956, Soviet scientists claimed the development of a new form of electron microscope that enabled atoms to be seen for the first time. Today, advances in imaging are allowing chemists to probe materials with extraordinary resolution using transmission electron microscopy.
Robert Bunsen, born 1811, made many contributions to science, but is most widely recognized for a burner he created for use in flame tests.
A highly reactive metal used in this novelty item will put a spark in April Fools’ Day again and again.
The American Chemical Society (ACS) founded in 1876 in New York City. John W. Draper, a scientist interested in photochemistry, served as first president.
In 1886, German scientist, Dr. Carl Gassner, was issued a German patent for the first “dry” cell. The following year, he received a U.S. patent for the dry cell battery, a forerunner to today’s Energizer battery.
NASA’s Nimbus III weather satellite made the first civilian use of nuclear batteries, or “space batteries,” 1969. Officially known as Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs), the batteries have provided spacecraft power for many years.
Humphry Davy performed the first physiological experiment on nitrous oxide by inhaling it, 1799. (Don’t try this at home!)
FASC and other African nations and Chemistry Societies played a critical role in obtaining UNESCO and UN support for the declaration of 2011 as the International Year of Chemistry (IYC).
Paul M. Cook, born 1924, created a chemistry lab in his house when he was 12 years old, and went on to develop high-performance materials used to build the electronic infrastructure that serve as the backbone of today’s wired world.
Fireflies get their brilliant glow from a light-emitting pigment called luciferin. Similar substances cause the glow of other so-called bioluminescent or light-producing creatures, including certain fish.
Joseph John Thomson announced in 1897 the discovery of a particle lighter than all known elements — the electron.
In 1892, Canadian Thomas L. Willson accidentally discovered the electric-arc process for preparing calcium carbide.
The Birth of the Chemical Enterprise founded in 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia as chemical practitioners from Europe settled in early Virginia.
In 1960, a synthetic ruby crystal laser was first operated at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California. This first operable laser device helped propel studies in physical chemistry. Today, scientists continue making advances with quantum cascade lasers.
Chemical sciences in the United States have been immeasurably strengthened by the important and continuing interdisciplinary research conducted by Noyes Laboratory scientists.
Spring cleaning is often accompanied by a wealth of do-it-yourself projects using this ubiquitous abrasive.
First fluid bed reactor for gasoline production went on stream in 1942 to meet growing demand for high-octane fuels.
In 1916 St. Elmo Brady became the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States.
Houdry process for gasoline production unveiled in 1937, conserved natural oil by doubling the amount of gasoline produced by other processes.
William Ramsay and Morris William Travers discovered krypton in 1898. Krypton is used in certain photographic flash lamps for high-speed photography.
Ibuprofen, commonly used as an alternative to aspirin, received an environmental make-over of its industrial production process in 1997.
The chemiluminescence of luminol, which produces light rather than heat when it reacts with an oxidizing agent, has become a valuable tool in crime scene investigations.
Edwin M. McMillan and Philip Abelson announced discovery of neptunium (Np, 93) in 1940. Today, neptunium’s 2.14 million year half-life makes it a challenge for nuclear waste storage and disposal.
Rechargeable Ni-Cd and NiMH batteries provide power for cordless phones, cordless power tools rechargeable batteries for consumer electronics and for hybrid cars.
Biodiesel, made from either waste fry oil or vegetable oil, shows excellent commercial promise as an alternative fuel to gasoline and oil.
The game show Jeopardy will celebrate IYC by devoting a category of questions to chemistry on June 21. Spread the word and tune in!
Death in 1829 of James Smithson, a fellow of the Royal Society of London, whose bequest founded the Smithsonian Institution.
Birth in 1906 of Maria Goeppert-Mayer, who developed the shell model of the nucleus and received a Nobel Prize in 1963. Because of anti-nepotism rules – she was married to another professor — she spent decades teaching university physics as an unpaid volunteer, and did not receive an offer of paid full-time employment until 1959.
Humphry Davy announced the isolation of the elements barium, calcium, “magnium” (magnesium), and strontium to the Royal Society in 1808. Earlier in his career, he isolated nitrous oxide, naming it “laughing gas” after testing its effects on his friend, the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
A true marriage of scientific minds, Pierre Curie and Maria (Marie) Sklodowska wed on this day in 1895. Pierre and Marie Curie shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903.
Joseph Priestley’s discovery of oxygen, 1774. Today, the American Chemical Society recognizes groundbreaking chemists with the Priestly Medal, the Society’s highest honor.
1867 death of Michael Faraday, whose many experiments contributed greatly to the understanding of electromagnetism. He published pioneering papers that led to the practical use of electricity.
Development of the Pennsylvania oil industry started in 1859, when Edwin Drake drilled the world’s first oil well.
The four basic elements — water, air, earth and fire — provide us a rich tradition for honoring the dead.
First meeting of Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn, 1908. Their collaboration led, 30 years later, to the experimental detection and interpretation of fission.
The Coal Facility in Kingsport, Tennessee — the first U.S. plant to use coal rather than petroleum to produce chemicals for plastics —began operating in 1983.
Percy Spencer invented the microwave oven, which uses a type of radiation to warm food quickly and efficiently. People now use the device on a daily basis to heat foods ranging from popcorn to frozen dinners. One this day in 1945, the patent application for the microwave cooking process was filed.
Ernest Orlando Lawrence invented the cyclotron in 1930, paving the way for deep new insights into the innermost nature of matter.
Alfred Nobel receives the first of 355 patents, a Swedish patent for preparing nitroglycerin, in 1863. He died in 1896, leaving his considerable estate as an endowment for annual awards in chemistry, physics, medicine or physiology, literature, and peace.
October 22nd marks the anniversary of Thomas Edison’s successful test of his prototype for an incandescent light bulb.
Wilhelm Röntgen discovered X-rays in 1895. In 1901, he was awarded the first Nobel Prize in physics, for his identification of this new form of energy.
In 1825, Thomas Drummond heated a ball of lime in front of a reflector, creating a brilliant white light. The discovery led to improvements in theater and lighthouse lighting.
Photoionization detectors are light, portable instruments that are invaluable for assessing potential chemical hazards onsite.
Fire extinguishers, which are effective at controlling small fires, work by removing the oxygen needed to maintain the combustion process.
At the darkest time of the year, candles are an important symbol of hope and life in this month’s Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, Christian celebration of Christmas, and in the celebration of Kwanzaa.
First Day of Winter –a pair of these will keep your hand warm via an exothermic reaction that, in essence, creates rust.
Swedish chemist Axel Fredrik Cronstedt, born 1722, discovered zeolite. Today, natural and synthetic zeolites are used as catalysts to boost the amount of gasoline obtainable from petroleum, thanks to pioneering work of another chemist, Paul B. Weisz.
Radiation chemistry, which uses high energy electrons to alter the structure of polymers, goes commercial Dec 24, 1957.