Humans have done a lot to challenge their natural environment and resources. By the end of the 19th century, chemists and other scientists recognized this destructive trajectory in the United States, which had only recently been regarded as a pristine New World. These scientists and their successors have fought hard to do something about this looming disaster.
Early in the 20th century, Frederick Cottrell invented a major means of cleaning up smokestack emissions that is still in use today—electrostatic precipitation.
Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring, published in 1962, helped set off the modern environmentalist movement.
Joan Berkowitz, a chemist and leading environmental consultant, has tackled everything from preventing water pollution to the best ways to treat industrial wastes.
Imagine having a microbe named after you that can transform dross into gold—and in an environmentally friendly way. This is not a fairytale but the fascinating story of James and Corale Brierley’s scientific partnership.
Chemical engineer Kathleen C. Taylor and other scientists developed catalytic converters, which use chemical reactions to turn noxious tailpipe emissions from automobiles into less harmful gases.
Science takes time. In 1986 Susan Solomon provided the most conclusive evidence for the theory proposed by Mario Molina in 1973 that CFCs destroy the protective layer of ozone in earth’s upper atmosphere.
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The Center for Oral History captures and preserves the stories of notable figures in chemistry and related fields, with over 425 oral histories that deal with various aspects of science, of scientists, and of scientific practices. For more information please visit CHF’s Oral History Program or e-mail oralhistory@
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