16 December – 1920-1930: Julian, Carothers & Pauling
Day 16 of the chemistry advent timeline features a trio of American chemists.
Percy Julian was a chemist who made important discoveries in the field of synthesising organic compounds found in plants. He achieved success despite experiencing racism throughout his career and eventually established his own company.
Wallace Carothers discovered nylon, whose use is still ubiquitous today. Sadly, Carothers took his own life shortly afterwards and did not live to see the impact of his discovery.
Linus Pauling is considered to be one of the greats of chemistry. His work had a huge impact on our understanding of chemical bonding in various compounds. He determined the alpha-helix structure of proteins and also worked (unsuccessfully) on the structure of DNA. Pauling won two Nobel Prizes and is still the only person to do so as the sole winner.