Some of the Major
Events in the Field of
Science, Chemistry and
John Winthrop Jr., opens
first chemical plant
in Boston. They produce
saltpeter (used in gunpowder) and alum(used in tanning).
Evangelista Torricelli devises the barometer.
Blaise Pascal determines the pressure of air.
Robert Boyle found that the volume occupied by the same sample of any gas at
constant temperature is inversely proportional to the pressure. This statement
is known as Boyle's law.
Antoni von Leewenhoek discovers bacteria.
Isaac Newton publishes his "Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Matematica". The
whole development of modern science begins with this great book.
set the foundations of mechanics, the theory of gravitation, a theory of
Newcomen's steam engine comes into general use.
Reamur publishes the guarded secret of steel-makers; that steel is Iron
containing just the right amount of carbon.
Classic British Industrial Revolution begins(often said to last until 1830s,
however in many ways it continues to this day).
James Watt improves on the Newcomen Engine.
Henry Cavendish discovers "inflammable air"(Hydrogen), which he concluded to
be a combination of water and phlogiston(oxygen), since its combustion yielded
John Priestley discovers oxygen and showed that it is consumed by animals and
produced by the plants.
Daniel Rutherford describes "residual air", the first published description of
Joseph Priestley and Jan Ingenhousz investigate photosynthesis.
Antoine Lavoisier shows that fire is due to the exothermic reaction between
combustible substances and oxygen. He named a gas discovered by Cavendish,
that burned to produce water, Hydrogen(Greek, water producer). Also
demonstrated that CO2, Nitric acid, and Sulfuric acid contained
Antoine Lavoisier and Pierre Laplace publish their Memoire on Heat, in which
they reach the conclusion that respiration is a form of combustion.
Lazaro Spallanzani performs experiments demonstrating that digestion is a
chemical process rather than a mechanical grinding of the food.
Charles de Coulomb measures the attractive and repulsive forces of
electrically charged particles, and discovered that these forces are inversely
proportional to the square of the distance.
Jacques Alexandre Cesar Charles studies the volume changes of gases with
changes in temperature.
The U.S. Constitution is written.
Alessandro Volta shows how to produce electricity by simply putting two
different pieces of metal together, with liquid or damp cloth between them,
and he thus produced the first electrical current battery.
Louis Joseph Gay-Lussac announces the ideal gas law.
The E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company(Du Pont) is founded and builds a
gunpowder factory along the banks of the
River near Wilmington, Delaware.
Nicholas Theodore de Saussure publishes experiments on photosynthesis, and
described the balanced equation of the process.
Louis Nicolas Vauquelin and Pierre Robiquet first isolated an amino acid,
asparagine, from asparagus.
Humprey Davy utilizes electric current to prepare metals from molecules such
as; sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, strontium and barium.
Nicolas Francois Appert, inventor and bacteriologist, demonstrates a procedure
for preservation of foods by canning.
Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac deduces the equations of alcoholic fermentation.
Amadeo Avogadro demonstrates that equal volumes of all gases under the same
temperature and pressure contain the same number of molecules, and that a
fixed number of molecules of any gas will weigh proportional to its molecular
weight. Presently the accepted value for the Avogadro number is 6.023 x 1023
molecules per gram-mol.
Sadi Carnot publishes his Reflexions setting various outstanding principles
that constitute the basis of actual Thermodynamics.
Friederich Wohler synthesizes the first organic compound from inorganic
compounds, preparing Urea by reacting Lead cyanate with ammonia.
Robert Brown first describes Brownian motion.
Michael Faraday shows the relation between magnetism and electricity is
dynamic. He showed that not only was magnetism equivalent to electricity in
motion but also, conversely, electricity was magnetism in motion. Later, Clerk
Maxwell summarized the electromagnetic theory.
Jean Baptiste Boussingnault recommends the use of iodized salt to cure goiter.
Jons Jacob Berzelius demonstrates that the hydrolysis of starch is catalyzed
more efficiently by malt diastase than by sulfuric acid. He published the
first general theory of chemical catalysis.
Rene Dutrochet recognizes that chlorophyll was necessary for photosynthesis.
US Congress passes act requiring boiler inspection and testing because of
frequent steamboiler explosions.
Publication of Justus von Liebig's Thierchemie united the field of chemistry
and physiology. He pointed out that organic compounds in plants are
synthesized from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere while nitrogenous compounds
are derived from precursors in the soil.
Julius Robert Mayer enunciates the Law of Conservation of Energy (1st Law of
Thermodynamics), after establishing the work equivalent of Heat.
Herman von Helmoltz and Julius Robert Mayer formulate the Laws of
Alfred Kolbe synthesizes acetic acid.
Joule demonstrates the equivalence for various forms of energy
The first petroleum refinery consisting of a one-barrel still was built in
Pittsburgh by Samuel Kier.
Kerosene is extracted from petroleum.
The Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company becomes the first oil company in the US
Benjamin Silliman, of New Haven, Connecticut, obtains valuable products by
distilling petroleum. They include tar, naphthalene, gasoline, and various
devises a process
to make cast steel on a large scale by blowing air through melted pig iron to
burn the carbon and maintain the resulting steel melted.
Seeking to make a substitute for quinine, the first artificial aniline coal
tar dye is developed by William H. Perkin.
Friederich August Kekule von Stradonitz proposes that carbon atoms can form
The first commercially successful US oil well is drilled by E.L. Drake near
This 70 foot well launches the petroleum industry.
During the First International Congress of Chemistry in Karlsruhe, Canizzaro
presented new methods determine atomic weights; Oxygen weight of 16 was
adopted as measuring basis of element weights, thus setting Hydrogen's weight,
the lightest known element, to approximately 1.
Louis Pasteur germ theory of disease revolutionizes concepts of Medicine and
Ernest Solvay perfects his method for producing sodium bicarbonate.
The British government passes the "Alkali Works Act" in an attempt to control
Ernst Seyler performed the first crystallization of a protein: hemoglobin.
Friederich August Kekule devices a ring model for the structural formula of
The first US petroleum pipeline is built from an oil field near Titusville,
Pennsylvania to a nearby railroad.
Dynamite is developed by Alfred Nobel.
Celluloid is invented by a British entrepreneur named Alexander Parkes(The
Father of Plastics).
Ernst Heinrich Haekel hypothesizes that the nuclei of a cell transmits its
hereditary information. He was the first using the term ‘ecology’ to describe
the study of living organisms and their interactions with other organisms and
with their environment.
Jean Baptiste Boussingnault pointed out that plants require oxygen for the
Dmitri Mendelejeff published a chemical elements arrangement table. This is
the basis of the well known periodic table.
was produced by
John Hyatt in Albany, New York. The breakthrough came about because of a
search for an ivory substitute that could be used to make billiard balls.
Celluloid was the first synthetic plastic to receive wide commercial use.
that all fermentations were chemical reactions rather than vital impulses.
isolated a substance which
he called "nuclein" from the nuclei of white blood cells. This substance came
to be known as nucleic acid.
Friederich, Wilhem Ludwig
and Eduard Pfunger studied the gas exchange process in the blood and
showed that oxidation occurs in the tissues rather than in the blood.
and described the behavior of nuclear filaments (chromosomes) during cell
division, providing the first accurate description of the process of mitosis
in animal cells.
student Othmar Zeider discovers the chemical formula for DDT.
Hertwig showed that
the head of the spermatozoon becomes a pronucleus and combines with the female
pronucleus as the zygote nucleus, thus establishing the concept that
fertilization is the conjugation of two cells.
designed the first four stroke piston engine. It is nicknamed the "Silent
Chemical Society (ACS) was formed.
proposed the term Enzyme(meaning ‘in yeast’) and distinguished enzymes from
the microorganisms that produce them.
developed the theory of Chemical Thermodynamics introducing fundamental
equations and relations to calculate multiphase equilibrium, the phase rule,
and the free energy concept. His work remained unknown until 1883, when
Wilhelm Ostwald discovered his work and translated it to German.
was discovered by
Constantin Fahlberg, a chemist at Johns Hopkins University. The calorie free
sweetener is 300 times stronger than sucrose and has been sold commercially
since about 1900.
his first, large, steel furnace.
proposes a "Society
of Chemical Engineers" in
Pasteur gave a
public demonstration of the effectiveness of his Anthrax vaccine.
his paper on the Reynolds' Number, a dimensionless quantity which
characterizes laminar and turbulent flow by relating kinetic(or inertial)
forces to viscous forces within a fluid.
Patent granted for chemical-coagulation filtration process.
The Solvay process is transferred to the
and the Solvay
Process Co. begins making soda ash in
Svante Arrhenius and Friederich Ostwald independently defined acids as
substances which release hydrogen ions when dissolved in water.
Christian Joachim Gram invented his staining method for classification of
Viscose Rayon is invented by the French chemist Hilaire Chardonnet.
The gasoline automobile is developed by Karl Benz. Before this, gasoline was
an unwanted fraction of petroleum which caused many house fires because of its
tendency to explode when placed in Kerosene lamps.
The first modern Oil Tanker, the Gluckauf, was built for Germany by England.
August Weismann elaborated a theory of chromosome behavior during cell
division and fertilization predicting the occurrence of meiosis.
Emil Fischer elaborated the structural patterns of proteins.
Heinrich Hertz performed the first experiments with a receptor to ‘hear’
herzian radio waves.
Francis Galton formulated the law of ancestral inheritance, a statistical
description of the relative contribution to heredity made by ancestors.
Theodor Boveri and Jean Louis Guignard established the numerical equality of
paternal and maternal chromosomes at fertilization.
Emil Adolf von Behring discovered antibodies.
Heinrich Wilhelm Weldiger proposed the Neuron theory of the nervous system.
Diesel develops his internal combustion engine.
rectification de alcool’ were he developed and applied the mathematical theory
of the rectifying column for binary mixtures. William Ostwald proved that
enzymes are catalysts.
George Oliver and Eduard Albert Sharpey-Schaeffer first demonstrated the
action of a specific hormone; the effect of an extract of adrenal gland on
blood vessels and muscle contraction, upon injection in normal animals it
produced a striking elevation of blood pressure.
The German physicist Wilhelm Konrad Roentgen discovered a new kind of
radiation working with the vacuum tube discharge. This radiation was called
Linde develops his process for liquefying air.
Badishe produces synthetic Indigo on a commercial scale in
The first bottle of Aspirin goes on sale to the public.
Max Plank introduced the concept that light and all other kinds of
electromagnetic radiation, which were considered as continuous trains of
waves, actually consist of individual energy packages with well defined
amounts of energy quanta, proportional to its vibration frequency.
John Herreshoff, of the Nichols Chemical Co., develops the first contact
method for sulfuric acid production in the
Oil Drilling begins in
Einstein has his ‘miracle year’ as he formulates the Special Theory of
Relativity, establishes the Law of Mass-Energy Equivalence, creates the
Brownian Theory of Motion, and formulates the Photon Theory of Light.
Ludwig Boltzman dies. He has the equation: ‘S=k ln(W)’ carved on his
gravestone in Vienna. Today it is known as the Boltzman Principle, and
provides a statistical relationship between entropy(S) and the number of ways
a system can be configured(W).
Cellophane is discovered by a Swiss chemist named Jacques Brandenberger.
New Jersey starts chlorinating water supply.
Svante Arrhenius argues that the greenhouse effect from coal and petroleum use
is warming the globe.
Dr. Leo Baekeland (‘The Father of the Plastics Industry’) discovers Bakelite
in his laboratory in
Bakelite production begins at the General Bakelite Company. The plastic finds
widespread use in electric insulation, electric plugs and sockets, clock
bases, iron handles, and jewelry.
Synthetic Ammonia is first produced by the Haber Process in Ludwigshafen,
A US Rayon plant is constructed by the American Viscose Co.
Sir Ernest Rutherford proposes his theory concerning the atomic nucleus.
allows the detection of protons and electrons.
The Standard Oil Co.(Indiana) begins the thermal cracking of petroleum in
Niels Bohr proposes his ‘solar system’ model of the atom.
The unit operations concept is articulated by Arthur Little.
Toxic gas(Chlorine Gas) is used in World War-I at the battles. Fritz Haber,
primarily known for his ammonia production process, supervises these deadly
‘experiments’. Later, his wife pleads with him to stop his work concerning
poison gases. After he refuses she commits suicide.
The Corning Glass Works begins marketing Pyrex glass.
A full-sized plant, producing nitric acid from ammonia, is built by the
Chemical Construction Co.
Fritz Haber receives the Nobel Prize for his work on Ammonia synthesis.
However, the award is highly protested because of his prominent role in
developing and delivering poison gas in World War-I. Ironically, Haber is
forced to leave his beloved
in 1933 because he was
Acetone was produced for the British in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Cellulose acetate, acrylics(Lucite & Plexiglas), and polystyrene can finally
be produced in large quantities.
The 18th Amendment, prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages, goes into
effect. Many cases of blindness and death result as people mistake wood
alcohol(methanol) for ethanol.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) starts an independent
Department of Chemical Engineering.
Ponchon and Savarit developed and presented the famous Enthalpy-Concentration
diagram useful to solve distillations calculations.
The Standard Oil Co.(New Jersey) produces Isopropyl Alcohol, the first
A 4,500 metric ton stockpile of ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfated
exploded at a chemical plant in
Germany. The blast
and subsequent fire killed 600, injured 1500, and left 7000 people homeless.
Thomas Midgley uses Tetraethyl lead as an antiknock additive in gasoline.
Albert Calmette and Camille Guerin develop a tuberculosis vaccine, BCG.
The first human diabetes patient is injected with insulin. Mass production of
this ‘wonder drug’ soon follows.
Louis de Broglie demonstrated that radiation has corpuscular properties, and
that matter particles such as electrons present condolatory wave
The AIChE begins accreditation of chemical engineering programs.
Rubber antioxidants begin to be used.
McCabe and Thiele present a graphical method for computing the number of
equilibrium plates required in a fractionating column for binary mixtures.
Du Pont and Commercial Solvents begin synthetic methanol production in the US
Hermann Miller used X-rays to cause artificial gene mutations in Drosophila.
Alexander Fleming observes the effect Penicillin has on bacteria. The
breakthrough occurred when he returned to his laboratory after a four week
vacation. An improperly sealed bacteria culture had been accidentally
contaminated by a number of molds and yeast. One of the molds had killed the
bacteria in the culture.
The Wisconsin duo of Hougen & Watson stress the importance of thermodynamics
in Chemical Engineering Education.
Katz, Brown, White, Kurata, Standing, & Sliepcevich help lay down some
foundations in phase equilibria, heat transfer, momentum transfer, and mass
Systematic analysis of chemical reactors begun by; Damkohler in Germany, Van
Heerden in Holland,
and Danckwerts and Denbigh in
They explore mass transfer, temperature variations, flow patterns, and
multiple steady states.
Neoprene synthetic rubber was produced by Du Pont.
The Imperial Chemical Industries in
Du Pont begins production of Rayon tire cord fabrics.
Perry's first edition of the Chemical Engineers Handbook is published.
Wallace H. Carothers, of Du Pont, discovers Nylon.
Rohm & Haas begins marketing Methyl Methacrylate plastics (PMMA).
The Houdry Process is used in the Catalytic Cracking of Petroleum.
Polystyrene is offered to consumers in the US by Dow Chemical. It finds uses
in radios, clock cases, electrical equipment, and wall tiles.
Enrico Fermi, Otto Hahn, F. Strassman, Lisa Meitner, and Otto Frish discover
Polyethylene(used in electrical insulation and food packaging),
silicones(lubricants, protective coatings, and high-temperature electronic
insulation), and epoxy(a very strong adhesive) were developed.
Standard Oil Co.(Indiana) developed Catalytic Reforming to produce higher
octane gasoline and create toluene for TNT. Higher octane gasoline helped the
American and British fighters outperform their German counterparts.
First tire from synthetic rubber produced in US
Styrene-Butadiene Rubber first produced in the US
Polyester resins introduced.
Enrico Fermi, and a team of scientists, operated the first man-made nuclear
reactor under a football field at the
of Chicago. A
cadmium control rod was suspended over the pile with a rope. Should something
have gone wrong, a scientist was to cut the rope with an ax, thereby dropping
the rod into the reactor, hopefully solving the problem.
DDT, a powerful pesticide, first produced in the US
Teflon, Tetrafluoroethelene resins, marketed by Du Pont.
Selman Waksman discovers streptomycin, the first effective anti-tuberculous
The US ends World War-II by detonating the Atomic Bomb over
After World War-II, the US broke Germany's enormous I.G. Farben into; BASF,
Bayer, and Hoechst.
A barge, the Grandcamp, loaded with fertilizer grade Ammonium Nitrate catches
fire and explodes destroying a nearby city and killing 576 in what would later
be known as the ‘Texas City Disaster’.
The formation of Hydrocarbons from synthetic gas by the Fischer-Tropish
The first off shore oil is drilled.
A deadly smog settled over the small steel mill town of
The noxious air killed 19 and caused thousands to become ill.
Muller awarded Nobel Prize for inventing DDT(dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane).
of Amundson & Aris stress
the importance of mathematical modeling in Chemical Reactor Engineering. Their
work helps encourage greater mathematical competence in Chemical Engineering
Bird, Stewart, & Lightfoot reveal the unifying concepts of mass, momentum, and
energy transport. Their textbook, ‘Transport Phenomenon’ continues to be a
phenomenon in Chemical Engineering Education.
Benzene produced from petroleum.
The first Fusion Bomb is tested.
Du Pont introduces Mylar polyester film.
Production of soap exceeded by synthetic detergents.
Francis Crick solved the three-dimensional structure of DNA molecule disclosed
by discovered in 1950 by Erwin Chargaff.
Polyisoprene rubber developed.
General Electric produces synthetic diamond.
Windscale graphite nuclear reactor burns for 42 hours in England. Releases
I-131. Residents curtail milk consumption for safety reasons.
General Electric develops polycarbonate plastics.
The computer control of chemical processes gains credibility.
A large scale hydrogen plant, to produce rocket fuel, is completed by Air
William McBride, an Australian obstetrician, discovers that thalidomide, a
mourning sickness drug, causes birth defects.
Rachel Carson's book, "Silent Spring", presents an emotional plea for
protecting human health and the environment from chemical pesticides.
Bottles made from polyvinyl chloride gain market share.
NutraSweet is discovered by a researcher, Mr. James Schlatter, at the G.D.
Searle & Co. The calorie free sugar replacer is 200 times sweeter than common
First attempt to control organic solvent emissions made by Los Angeles' Rule 66.
Consumption of man-made fibers tops natural fibers in US.
The horribly polluted
running through Cleveland, actually caught on fire.
America's heavy dependence on foreign oil results in an Energy Crisis as the
Arabs stop shipment to countries which supported
in the Arab-Israeli Wars.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is formed. It consists of 6,000
employees and has an annual budget of $1.3 billion.
Congress passes the ‘Clean Air Act’ establishing national air quality
Congress passes the ‘Clean Water Act’ to confront water pollution.
Stanley Cohen & Herbert Boyer perform the first experiment in Genetic
Cyclohexan vapor from ruptured makeshift bypass pipe explodes killing 28
prompting legislation for risk studies in British chemical plants.
Toxic releases including the Kepone tragedy at
the PCB contamination of the Hudson River; and the PBB poisoning of cows in
keep environment issues in
Catalytic converters are introduced in many automobiles to meet emissions
standards established by the US government.
Cable fire at Browns Ferry nuclear reactor in Alabama almost leads to
disaster. It was caused by an electrician who used a candle to check for air
leaks below the nuclear plant's control room.
Du Pont recognizes the contributions of Nathaniel C. Wyeth. He was responsible
for introducing the plastic soda bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate
(PET) which quickly replaced their glass predecessors.
McDonald's fast food chain starts using Polystyrene to package its hamburgers.
Congress passes the ‘Toxic Substances Control Act’ regulating toxic chemicals.
The US National Academy of Sciences reports that chlorofluorocarbons(Freons)
can deplete the Ozone Layer.
The US bans the use of chloroform in drugs and cosmetics.
The FDA moves to ban Saccharin, a calorie free sweetener, because it has been
found to cause cancer in rats.
Raymond Damadian builds his first Magnetic Resonance Imager(MRI) used to
generate 3-D images of the human body using the principles of Nuclear Magnetic
Resonance spectroscopy (NMR).
Chlorofluorcarbons (Freons) are banned as spray propellants in the US because
of fears over the Ozone Layer.
The US Government begins limiting the amount of lead permitted in gasoline.
The action is taken to prevent deterioration of the platinum catalysts in
catalytic converters, not to protect the public's safety.
No one is injured, but many are terrified, by a nuclear reactor incident at
Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania.
Genetic Engineering succeeds in synthesizing human insulin.
Canal(in New York)
and the Valley
leaking hazardous waste drums near
keep environmental issues in the news and are described as ‘ticking time
The US Supreme Court rules that General Electric can Patent a microbe used for
The US Government bans the sale of lead based paints.
The Superfund, containing $1.6 billion, is formed to be used by the EPA in
cleaning up pollution sites.
Chemical Process Simulation software is released for the PC(Personal
computer). Soon packages like DESIGN-II, ASPEN, SIMSCI(PROII), HYSIM & CHEMCAD
start appearing on engineering desktops.
An accidental toxic gas release by Union Carbide kills over 2000 and disables
10000 in Bhopal,
Low petroleum prices lead to the cancellation of the US Government sponsored
‘Synfuels’ project, designed to develop alternative energy sources based on
coal or oil shales.
Nuclear Reactor-IV explodes, releasing large amounts of radiation near
Japan's ‘Nipon Zeon’ company develops a plastic with memory. At low
temperatures it can be bent and twisted, however when heated above 37 degrees
Celsius it returns to its initial shape.
A Scanning Tunneling Microscope produces the first picture of a Benzene Ring.
oil platform explodes
prompting England to
require risk assessments in oil industry.
McDonald's fast food chain stops using the ‘clamshell’ to package its
hamburgers because of fears over the CFC's used in manufacturing Polystyrene.
The Human Genome Project, designed to map all the genes in a human being, is
New York's "World
Trade Center" is
bombed by terrorists. The explosive was created by a 26-year-old chemical
engineer educated at
The Shinri Kyo religious group uses Sarin nerve gas in the deadly
A bomb made from Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer and fuel oil destroys the
Dolly, a female sheep, becomes the first mammal to be cloned from an adult
mammal's cells. This incredible work was carried out at Edinburgh's Roslin
Institute, and its announcement sparked a rash of discussion and legislation
concerning the morality of cloning human beings.
Olestra, a fat-free fat replacer, is approved for use in salted snacks by the
FDA after 10 years of deliberation. Olestra is a novel lipid made from sucrose
and soybean oil. With up to 8 fatty acids attached to the sucrose molecule,
instead of the 3 fatty acids typically found in fat, enzymes are unable to
break down Olestra. The Procter & Gamble company has been studying the safety
of Olestra for nearly 30 years.
Troll offshore platform begins collecting natural gas off the Norwegian coast.
With 369 meters tall(most submerged) and 656,000 tons capacity it is one of
the worlds largest structures.