November 19-December 2
50-year, 100-year, 150-year, etc. anniversaries appear in bold red.
See also a chemical calendar at Linz, Austria (in German) or Today in Science History by Ian Ellis.
- Beckman Instruments (now Beckman Coulter) incorporated, as National Inking Appliance, 1934.
- Elizabeth Helen Blackburn born 1948: telomerase; Nobel Prize (medicine), 2009.
- Charles Hatchett announced discovery of columbium (niobium, Nb, element 41) before Royal Society, 1801.
- John Alexander Reina Newlands born 1837: classification of elements ("law of octaves")
- Charles Adolphe Wurtz born 1817: synthesis of hydrocarbons (Wurtz reaction), methyl & ethyl amines, phosphorous oxychloride, and glycol. Read his account of the Karlsruhe Congress.
- Karl Ziegler born 1898: polymerization through organometallic catalysis; plastics; Nobel Prize, 1963.
- In Bhopal, India, at a Union Carbide India facility, a disastrous release of methyl isocyanate that would claim over 4000 lives began, 1984. [Note: I have found it difficult to find objective facts and analysis on this disaster, so I offer sites that carry perspectives of the company and of outraged protesters, as well as a review published in Environmental Health. Union Carbide has since merged with Dow Chemical. -CJG]
- Paul (Ching-Wu) Chu born 1941: high-temperature superconducting materials.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opened under the directorship of William Ruckelshaus, 1970.
- Isabella Karle born (as Isabella Lugoski) 1921: three-dimensional structure of molecules via diffraction of X-rays and electrons; plutonium chemistry in the Manhattan Project; see oral history interviews (2005 and 2015).
- First artificially initiated self-sustained nuclear fission reaction (Chicago pile one) under Stagg Field, University of Chicago, 1942.
- Nikolai Matveevich Kizhner born 1867: Wolff-Kizhner (also known as Wolff-Kishner) reduction of aldehydes and ketones.
- Ludwig Knorr born 1859: synthesis of heterocyclic compounds.
- First large-scale commercial nuclear power plant began operation at Shippingport, PA, in 1957.
Principal Sources: Milestones in Chemistry Calendar, Copyright © 1996, remains the principal source of information; however, I have checked (and in some cases corrected) its birth dates. Chemical and Engineering News "Top 75" (75th anniversary issue, 1/12/98) and Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists edited by John Daintith et al. (Institute of Physics, 2nd ed, 1994) are other important sources. Women in Chemistry and Physics : a Biobibliographic Sourcebook, edited by Louise S. Grinstein, Rose K. Rose, and Miriam H. Rafailovich and Notable Women in the Physical Sciences edited by Benjamin F. and Barbara S. Shearer have helped me to add several women to the calendar. The Illustrated Almanac of Science, Technology, and Invention by Raymond L. Francis is the source of several entries. Thanks to all interested readers who have suggested events for inclusion; Lucio Gelmini has been particularly helpful in this regard.
Dates are given according to the Gregorian calendar to the extent I could find them. (Note: this applies particularly to 19th-century Russians.)
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