Claude Cohen-Tannoudji born 1933: cooling of atoms by interactions with laser light; Nobel Prize (physics), 1997.
G. N. Lewis's article, "The Atom and the Molecule," containing Lewis dot structures is published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, 1916 (April issue, nominal publication date April 1).
Sergei Nikolaevich Reformatskii (Reformatsky) born 1860: synthesis of organozinc halides (Reformatsky reaction).
Julian Stone reported in Applied Physics Letters that a new quartz fiber filled with tetrachloroethylene may be able to carry light, 1972.
Richard Adolf Zsigmondy born 1865: explained heterogeneous nature of colloidal suspensions; introduced the ultramicroscope for study of colloids; Nobel Prize, 1925. View Zsigmondy's book Colloids and the Ultramicroscope.
Carl Alsberg born 1877: food chemistry;
Francis Crick and James Dewey Watson mailed brief article on the double-helix structure of DNA to Nature in 1953; view a typescript of the article.
Charles Martin Hall obtains US patent 400,766 for an electrolytic process for producing aluminum in 1886.
First meeting of the Electrochemical Society of America (now simply the Electrochemical Society), at the Manufacturers' Club, Philadelphia.
Otto Folin born 1867: clinical chemistry; Folin-Wu reagent for glucose analysis.
Johan Peter Klason born 1848: lignin chemistry.
Raoul Pierre Pictet born 1846: liquefaction of oxygen.
Ira Remsen was awarded the first Priestley Medal in 1923.
Synthesis of vitamin B6 announced by Merck, Sharp & Dohme in 1939.
Richard Chenevix born 1774: mineralogist; chemistry of platinum (Pt, element 78) and palladium (Pd, 46).
Norman Davidson born 1916: ion channels and neurotransmitters.
Marshall Gates and Gilg Tschudi announced synthesis of morphine, 1956.
Joseph Lister born 1827: antiseptics such as carbolic acid (phenol); read part of his report.
First official organizational meeting of the American Chemical Society held at New York University in 1876.
Edmond Henri Fischer born 1920: protein phosphorylation and its role in biological regulation; Nobel Prize (medicine), 1992.
Feodor Lynen born 1911: biosynthesis of cholesterol; Nobel Prize (medicine), 1964.
Richard Macy Noyes born 1919: chemical kinetics; oscillating chemical reactions.
Roy Plunkett accidentally polymerized Freons producing polytetrafluoroethylene, better known as Teflon (US patent 2,230,654), 1938.
James Walker born 1863: hydrolysis, ionization constants, and amphoteric electrolytes with organic compounds.
James Dewey Watson born 1928: double-helix structure of DNA; Nobel Prize (medicine), 1962.
Louis Frederick Fieser born 1899: organic chemistry (synthesis and aromatic compounds); invented napalm; coauthor (with wife Mary) of Reagents for Organic Synthesis
Louis Plack Hammett born 1894: physical organic chemistry; structure-activity relationships;
Hammett equation for linear free-energy relationships
Heinrich Hlasiwetz [auf Deutsch] born 1825: protein analysis.
New law established metric system and nomenclature in France, 1795.
Joseph Priestley left England to move to the United States, 1794. A mob hostile to his politically and religiously liberal views had destroyed his home and made him unwelcome in Birmingham.
Walter Stockmayer born 1914: statistical mechanics and dynamics of polymers.
Melvin Calvin born 1911: research in photosynthesis; Nobel Prize, 1961.
August Wilhelm von Hofmann born 1818: coal tar; organic nitrogen chemistry, particularly dyes; founding president of the German Chemical Society.
Joseph Kenyon born 1885: organic chemistry, stereochemistry and mechanism of nucleophilic substitution.
F. Albert Cotton born 1930: inorganic chemistry and chemical bonding (metal carbonyls, metal-metal bonds); 1998 Priestley Medal.
Dorothy Anna Hahn born 1876: chemical valence;
Ignacio Tinoco, Jr., proposed a simple method for deducing secondary structure of ribonucleic acid (RNA) from nucleotide sequence, 1971.
Elizabeth Kreiser Weisburger born 1924: investigation of chemical carcinogenesis at the molecular level;
Arnold Beckman born 1900: chemist and inventor; founder of Beckman Instruments (now Beckman Coulter). View US patent 2,058,761 for pH meter.
Arnold Collins made the synthetic rubber called polychloroprene (also known as neoprene), 1930.
Marshall Warren Nirenberg born 1927: cracking the genetic code (i.e., correlation of nucleic-acid sequence to protein structure); Nobel Prize (medicine), 1968.
Robert Burns Woodward born 1917: stereoselective organic synthesis; synthesis of natural products;
Woodward-Hoffmann rules on orbital symmetry; Nobel Prize, 1965.
Percy Lavon Julian born 1899: synthesis of physostigmine; preparation of cortisone (US patent 2,752,339).
Hugh Christopher Longuet-Higgins born 1923: multicenter bonds in boranes and other compounds; conjugation.
Ernest Volwiler and Donalee Tabern received US patent number 2,153,729 for sodium pentothal as a general anaesthetic, 1939.
Robert Burns Woodward and William von Eggers Doering reported a formal synthesis of quinine in 1944.
Marie Curie watched as one of her professors, Gabriel Lippmann, presented her exhaustive survey of radioactivity in natural substances, which presents evidence for substances much more radioactive than uranium, 1898.
Otto Fritz Meyerhof born 1884: muscle metabolism; Nobel Prize (Medicine), 1922.
Thomas Thomson born 1773: early advocate of Dalton's atomic hypothesis and Prout's hypothesis; edited Annals of Philosophy. History of Chemistry
Georges Urbain born 1872: codiscoverer of lutetium (Lu, element 71); discovered the law of optimum phosphorescence of binary systems.
Torbern Bergman confirmed Müller von Reichenstein's finding that the substance isolated from a bismuth ore was a new element, tellurium (Te, element 52), 1784.
Michael Stuart Brown born 1941: cholesterol metabolism and its regulation; Nobel Prize (medicine), 1985.
Alan MacDiarmid born 1927: conducting polymers; Nobel Prize, 2000.
NASA's Nimbus III weather satellite made first civilian use of nuclear batteries (radioisotope thermoelectric generators), 1969.
Johann Balmer published the observation that certain spectral frequencies of hydrogen are related by a simple mathematical formula (Balmer series), 1885.
William Cullen born 1710: noted the cooling effects of evaporation and of gas expansion.
Catherine Clarke Fenselau born 1939: mass spectrometry and its application to biochemistry; Garvan Medal, 1985.
Albert Ghiorso announced the discovery of Rutherfordium (Rf, element 104) with coworkers (Ghiorso at right) at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1969.
Robert Gore born: inventor of Gore-Tex fabric (waterproof fabric that "breathes") from expanded polytetrafluoroethylene; Perkin Medal, 2005. US patent Patent 3,953,566.
Carol Greider born 1961: telomerase; Nobel Prize (medicine), 2009.
Nikolai Nikolaevich Semenov born 1896: chemical kinetics; theory of chain reactions; Nobel Prize, 1956.
Ernest Solvay received patent entitled "Industrial Production of Sodium Carbonate by Means of Marine Salt, Ammonia, and Carbon Dioxide" (Solvay process) in 1861.
Joseph Black born 1728: latent heat and specific heat; foundation for modern quantitative analysis.
Marie Maynard Daly born 1921: first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry (Columbia University, 1948)
Humphry Davy performed first physiological experiment on nitrous oxide by inhaling it, 1799. (Don't try this at home!) Read his report.
Albert Hofmann discovered the hallucinogenic effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), 1943. (Link to US National Drug Intelligence Center's LSD Fast Facts.)
Ernest Solvay born 1838: chemical manufacturer and Belgian government minister; Solvay process for sodium carbonate production.
Sidney Gilchrist Thomas born 1850: effected the separation of phosphorus from iron in the Bessemer converter.
First oil well fire, at Little and Merrick well, Oil City, PA, 1861.
Robert Robertson born 1869: explosives; amatol (ammonium nitrate/TNT); infrared spectroscopy.
Marston Taylor Bogert born 1868: synthesis of quinazolines and thiazoles.
Joseph Leonard Goldstein born 1940: cholesterol metabolism and its regulation; Nobel Prize (medicine), 1985.
George Herbert Hitchings born 1905: pharmaceutical chemistry; Nobel Prize (medicine), 1988.
Eugene Jules Houdry born 1892: commercial catalytic cracking of petroleum for gasoline production (Houdry process, first patent application in France; US patent 1,837,963) and catalytic cleaning of automobile exhaust.
Paul-Émile Lecoq de Boisbaudran born 1838: discovered gallium (Ga, element 31), dysprosium (Dy, 66), and samarium (Sm, 62).
William Albert Noyes, Jr., born 1898: editor of Journal of the American Chemical Society, 1950-1962.
Joseph Priestley ignited a mixture of "inflammable air" (hydrogen) and common air, 1781, and noted that the explosion was not as powerful as can be obtained from gunpowder. He failed to recognize (as Cavendish, Lavoisier, and Watt did soon afterwards) that the two gases combine to form water.
Samuel Cox Hooker born 1864: sugar chemistry
Antoine Lavoisier claimed the right to the discovery of oxygen (O, element 8), arguing that he and Joseph Priestley discovered the same facts, but that he recognized the role of oxygen in combustion while Priestley explained it in terms of phlogiston theory, 1776. (This claim is treated fictionally in the play Oxygen by Carl Djerassi and Roald Hoffmann.)
Ines Hochmuth Mandl born 1917: biochemical basis of pulmonary emphysema; medicinal uses of collagenases, elastases, and their inhibitors; Garvan Medal, 1982
Monsanto incorporated, 1933.
François-Charles-Léon Moureu born 1863: organic chemistry; oxidation and antioxidants; first president of IUPAC.
Glenn Theodore Seaborg born 1912: codiscoverer of plutonium (Pu, element 94), americium (Am, 95), curium (Cm, 96), berkelium (Bk, 97), californium (Cf, 98), einsteinium (Es, 99), fermium (Fm, 100), mendelevium (Md, 101), nobelium (No, 102), and seaborgium (Sg, 106) (named by his coworkers); Nobel Prize, 1951.
Franz Karl Achard born 1753: introduced platinum crucible; invented process for extraction of sugar from sugar beets and opened the first beet sugar factory.
American Chemical Society organized, 1876, in New York City.
Wilhelm (or Guglielmo) Körner born 1839: isomerism in substituted benzenes (ortho, meta, and para).
Karl Alexander Müller born 1927: high-temperature superconducting materials; Nobel Prize (Physics), 1987.
Gertrude Perlmann born 1912: protein biochemistry, particularly phosphoproteins; Garvan Medal, 1965.
Kai Manne Siegbahn born 1918: electron spectroscopy; son of 1924 Nobel laureate X-ray spectroscopist Karl Siegbahn; Nobel Prize (physics), 1981.
Jean-Baptiste Biot born 1774: discovered optical activity; Biot-Savart law in electromagnetism.
Percy Williams Bridgman born 1882: effect of pressure on materials; showed that viscosity increases with high pressure; Nobel Prize (Physics), 1946.
Paul Karrer born 1889: synthesis of vitamins A, B2 (riboflavin), and E (tocopherol); Nobel Prize, 1937.
Nalco incorporated as National Aluminate Corporation, 1928.
Pfizer incorporated, 1900.
Donald James Cram born 1919: Nobel Prize, 1987, for synthetic molecules which imitate biomolecules.
First modern use of chemical weapons: chlorine gas at Ypres, 1915.
First Earth Day, 1970.
Max Planck born 1858: thermodynamics, particularly second law; introduced quantum theory and constant now known as Planck's constant; Nobel Prize (physics), 1918.
Rohm & Haas incorporated, 1917.
Roger Kornberg born 1947: genetic transcription in eukaryotic organisms; Nobel Prize, 2006.
Jean de Marignac born 1817: discovery of ytterbium (Yb, element 70) and gadolinium (Gd, element 64). Read some of Marignac's opinions on Prout's law and on atomic and equivalent weights (1 and 2).
Russell born 1898: invented klystron tube, founded Varian instruments (now Varian, Inc.) with brother Sigurd Varian.
Wolfgang Pauli born 1900: Pauli exclusion principle; Nobel Prize (Physics), 1945.
"Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid," by James Watson and Francis Crick, published in Nature, 1953.
Michael Smith born 1932: oligonucleotide-based, site-directed mutagenesis of DNA; Nobel Prize, 1993.
Philip Hague Abelson born 1913: codiscovered neptunium (Np, element 93).
Wallace Carothers born 1896: macromolecules; invented nylon (US patents 2,130,947 and 2,130,948). Link to lab exercises in making nylon.
Andrew Fire born 1959: RNA interference - gene silencing by double-stranded RNA; Nobel Prize (Medicine), 2006.
Albert Ghiorso (at right) and coworkers announced in 1970 discovery of element 105 (eventually named dubnium, Db) produced by bombarding californium-249 (249Cf) with nitrogen-15 (15N).
Charles James born 1880: separation of rare earth elements.
Antoine Lavoisier reported in 1775 that heated mercury forms red calx (HgO), while the surrounding air is reduced in volume and no longer supports combustion; heating the calx liberates oxygen.
Alfred Bader born 1924: founder of Aldrich Chemical (now part of Sigma-Aldrich)
Karl Barry Sharpless born 1941: catalytic oxidation, particularly stereoselective oxidation (e.g. Sharpless epoxidation), in organic synthesis; Nobel Prize, 2001
Atlantic Richfield Company incorporated, 1870.
Nashua incorporated as Nashua Card, Gummed and Coated Paper, 1904.
Harold Clayton Urey born 1893: isolated heavy water (D2O); co-discoverer of deuterium (2H); Nobel Prize, 1934.
Albert Ghiorso and coworkers announced the discovery of mendelevium (Md, 101) at the University of California, Berkeley, 1958.
Joseph John Thomson announced in 1897 the discovery of a body lighter than all known elements and a constituent of them all--the electron. Thomson's Nobel Prize address.