13 December – 1900-1910: Humphrey, Baekeland & Haber
Day 13 of Chemistry Advent features Edith Humphrey, the first British woman to obtain a doctorate in chemistry. She carried out key research into inorganic complexes but was ultimately forced out of academia by sexist attitudes towards women in laboratories. There’s more on her story in this article on pioneering female chemists in Education in Chemistry.
Leo Baekeland was a pioneer in plastics and invented the world’s first synthetic plastic, Bakelite.
Fritz Haber generated ammonia from the nitrogen in air with the Haber Process, revolutionising fertiliser production. The Haber Process is vital to support the global population’s food needs. However, Haber’s dark side was his contribution to the development of chemical warfare in World War I.