Fritz Haber (9 December 1868 – 29 January 1934) was a German chemist, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918 for his development for synthesizing ammonia, important for fertilizers and explosives. Thefood production for half the world's current population depends on this method for producing fertilizer. Haber, along with Max Born, proposed the Born–Haber cycle as a method for evaluating the lattice energy of an ionic solid. He has also been described as the "father of chemical warfare" for his work developing anddeploying chlorine and other poisonous gases during World War I.
During his time at University of Karlsruhe from 1894 to 1911,Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch developed the Haber process, which is the catalytic formation of ammonia from hydrogen and atmospheric nitrogen under conditions of high temperature and pressure.
He was awarded the 1918 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work (he actually received the award in 1919).
The Haber-Bosch process was a milestone in industrial chemistry, because itdivorced the production of nitrogen products, such as fertilizer,explosives and chemical feedstocks, from natural deposits, especially sodium nitrate (caliche), of which Chile was a major (and almost unique) producer. Naturally extracted nitrate production in Chile fell from 2.5 million tons (employing 60,000 workers and selling at $45/ton) in 1925 to just 800,000 tons, produced by 14,133 workers, and selling at $19/ton in 1934. The annual world production of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer is currently more than 100 million tons. The food base of half of the current world population is based on the Haber-Bosch process.
He was also active in the research of combustion reactions, the separation of gold from sea water, adsorption effects, electrochemistry, and free radical research (see Fenton's reagent). A large part of his work from 1911 to 1933 was done at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry and Elektrochemistry at Berlin-Dahlem. In 1953, this institute was renamed for him. He is sometimes credited, incorrectly, with first synthesizing MDMA (which was first synthesized by Merck KGaA chemist Anton Köllisch in 1912).
He married Clara Immerwahr in 1901. Clara was also a chemist and the first woman to earn a PhD at the University of Breslau. She was opposed to Haber's work in chemical warfare. On 2 May 1915, following an argument with Haber over the subject, she committed suicide in their garden shooting herself in the heart with his service revolver, possibly in response to his having personally overseen the first successful use of chlorine at the Second Battle of Ypres on 22 April 1915.
Haber's son from his first marriage, Hermann, emigrated to the United States during World War II. He committed suicide in 1946 because of his shame over his father's chemical warfare work.
Haber received much criticism for his involvement in the development of chemical weapons in pre-World War II Germany, both from contemporaries and from modern-day scientists. The research results show the ambivalence of his scientific activity: on the one hand, development of ammonia synthesis for the manufacture of explosives and of a technical process for the industrial manufacture and use of poison gas in warfare; but on the other hand, development of an industrial process without which the food supply for today's world population would be greatly diminished.
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From Maths to Philosophy....this child prodigy did it all in a short life span and left a strong impression on MATHEMATICS!!!