A history of the discoveries of chemical reactions

Those pursuing their interests into specific areas of chemistry communicate with others who share the same interests.

A history of the discoveries of chemical reactions

So the Royal Society of Chemistry decided to look into what people really think of chemistrychemists and chemicals. Chemistry hall of fame. Penicillin Not a cowshed, but a wartime penicillin production plant. Without it, a prick from a thorn or sore throat can easily turn fatal.

Alexander Fleming generally gets the credit for penicillin when, inhe famously observed how a mould growing on his petri dishes suppressed the growth of nearby bacteria.

But, despite his best efforts, he failed to extract any usable penicillin. Fleming gave up and the story of penicillin took a year hiatus.

A history of the discoveries of chemical reactions

Until in it took Australian pharmacologist Howard Florey and his team of chemists to figure out a way of purifying penicillin in useable quantities.

The team therefore cobbled together a totally functional penicillin production plant from from bath tubs, milk churns and book shelves.

Not surprisingly the media were extremely excited about this new wonder drug, but Florey and his colleagues were rather shy of publicity. Instead Fleming took the limelight. The Haber-Bosch process Ammonia revolutionised agriculture.

It is also the most common gas in our atmosphere. Consequently a major limiting factor in agriculture has been the availability of nitrogen. InGerman chemists Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch changed all this when they combined atmospheric nitrogen and hydrogen into ammonia.

This in turn can be used as crop fertilisereventually filtering up the food chain to us. Polythene — the accidental invention They may be plastic but they are vintage and very valuable.

The 80m tonnes of the stuff that is made each year is the result of two accidental discoveries.


The first occurred in when German chemist Hans von Pechmannwhile investigating something quite different, noticed a waxy substance at the bottom of his tubes. Along with his colleagues he investigated and discovered that it was made up of very long molecular chains which they termed polymethylene.

Then in an entirely different method for making the plastic was discovered by chemists at, the now defunct chemical company, ICI. They were working on high-pressure reactions and noticed the same waxy substance as von Pechmann. At first they failed to reproduce the effect until they noticed that in the original reaction oxygen had leaked into the system.

The Pill and the Mexican yam Yum - Mexican yam! But research and treatments were held back by massively time-consuming and inefficient methods for synthesising hormones. Russel Markera professor of organic chemistry at Pennsylvania State University, slashed the costs of producing progesterone by discovering a simple shortcut in the synthetic pathway.

The Haber-Bosch process

He went scavenging for plants with progesterone-like molecules and stumbled upon a Mexican yam. From this root vegetable he isolated a compound that took one simple step to convert into progesterone for the first contraceptive pill.

The screen you are reading on LCD screens rock. When the British Ministry of Defence decided it wanted flat-screens to replace bulky and expensive cathode ray tubes in its military vehicles. It settled on an idea based on liquid crystals. It was already known that liquid crystal displays LCDs were possible, the problem was that they only really worked at high temperatures.

So not much good unless you are sitting in an oven. He did just that when he invented a molecule known as 5CB.

Meanwhile derivates of 5CB make the phones, computers and TVs possible. Liquid crystals and LCDs.Albert Einstein called him "the greatest mind in American history." Gibbs’s studies of thermodynamics and discoveries in statistical mechanics paved the way for many of Einstein’s later discoveries.

Reactions Science Videos | November 10, Throughout the history of science, many major discoveries came accidentally.

A history of the discoveries of chemical reactions

Sometimes they came from recognizing potential in an unexpected product or waste. Section 4, entitled "Physical and Chemical Principles," written by Bryant, Elgin, Perry, Rossini and Whitwell, has a chapter on "Chemical reaction kinetics," containing a discussion of homogeneous and heterogeneous reactions (but not reactor design).

Reactions Science Videos | November 10, Throughout the history of science, many major discoveries came accidentally. Sometimes they came from recognizing potential in an unexpected product or waste. In many ways, the history of civilization is the history of chemistry. Humans have always sought to identify, use and change the materials in our environment.

Famous Chemists Chemistry is a study of reactions between chemicals and substances that most people experience in their everday life.

All of our medicines and household products are the result of a history of chemical studies and discoveries.