HIS2129 Lecture 12: Class Notes

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27 Jul 2016
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Lecture 12 – HIS2129
Fritz Jacob Haber
- He perfected the ammonia synthesis project (ex. explosives)
- He was president in 1915
- Proposed phosphorus as the better lethal gas
- After WWI Haber gets the Noble prize for his ammonia synthesis but
considered a war criminal
- Produced a rat poison called Zyklon B
- He was Jewish
Wonders of Modern Chemistry
- 2 categories of chemicals that were made up of elements of period table
- Both can benefit agriculture
- Fertilizer
oSynthesis new tissues, yield fruits/veggies and fibers and nutritional
content
oHaber-Bosch process by substituting natural gas to make fertilizers
cheaper
o1 effect on environment – overuse, overabundance, too much causes
them to seep into the broader environment
- Pesticides
oRole is to kill, eliminate, exterminate
oFighting pestes that prey on crops (insecticides) eliminate
competition like weeds (herbicides) and fungi (fungicides)
- After WWII, organic chemistry – chemistry of carbon because it is an
essential element – benefits from the rise of petrochemicals and the rise of
new theories of physics, the theories and methods of organic chemistry have
been altered and come up with a new array of pesticides
- Adding fertilizer doesn’t make much effect to the growth of plants to a
certain point
- Pesticides (due to rain, wind, etc.) you may end up poisoning the broader
environment
Wheat Production in US
- Fertilizers started being used in the 1930s, as prices were relatively good,
yields are rising slowly in 1920s
- In 1930s there was drought in the US “Dust years”
- To boost yield and production after
- WWII 1941-1945 during which labor is less than before because many men
have left for the army, so fertilizers are used to make jobs less manual since
they were lacking personnel
- Yields continue to rise for many reasons, in the case of corn it rose due to
improvement in irrigation, mechanization and direct genetic modification
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