January - 25 years ago; 65 years ago; 90 years ago; 125 years ago; 130 years ago; 145 years ago

25 years ago 

US scientist Harold Urey died. Urey’s method for concentrating possible heavy hydrogen isotopes by fractional distillation of liquid hydrogen led to the discovery of deuterium. Urey won the 1934 Nobel prize for chemistry.  

65 years ago 

John Walker born, UK. He shared the 1997 Nobel prize for chemistry for work on the enzyme ATP synthase’s role in forming adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which transports energy in living organisms.  

90 years ago 

US chemist Ruth Rogan Benerito was born in Louisiana. Her work with epoxies led to wash-and-wear fabrics, and also crease and stain resistant cotton fabrics. 

125 years ago 

Irving Langmuir born in New York, US. His work on gases led to the invention of the Langmuir condensation pump. His studies of molecular films on solid and liquid surfaces won him the 1932 Nobel prize for chemistry.  

130 years ago 

Otto Paul Hermann Diels born in Germany. He was awarded the Nobel prize for chemistry in 1950 with Kurt Alder for their method of preparing cyclic organic compounds: the Diels-Alder reaction.  

145 years ago 

Birth of Hans Goldschmidt, Germany. He invented the alumino-thermic or Goldschmidt reduction process. The method, involving reactions of metal oxides with aluminium to give aluminium oxide and the free metal, has been used to produce chromium, manganese, and cobalt from oxide ores.