June - 25 years ago; 45 years ago; 65 years ago; 155 years ago; 245 years ago

25 years ago 

The first US solar power plant was inaugurated at the Natural Bridge National Monument, Utah. It was the world’s largest, with more than 250 000 solar cells providing power for the national park’s buildings and facilities.  

45 years ago 

Robert Burns Woodward synthesised chlorophyll. He went on to synthesise vitamin B12 in 1971, expanding the capabilities of organic chemistry to create specific desired molecular structures.  

65 years ago 

The discovery of element 93, neptunium was announced by Edwin McMillan and Philip Abelson. McMillan discovered neptunium as a decay product of uranium-239 by beta decay while studying nuclear fission. With Abelson, he isolated the new element, proving its existence. McMillan shared the 1951 Nobel prize for chemistry with Glenn Seaborg for the discovery. 

155 years ago 

Jesse Boot was born in the UK. At 13 he inherited his father’s herbalist shop and in 1877 opened his first chemist’s shop in Nottingham. In 1880, with the slogan ’Boots Cash Chemists’, he advertised herbal preparations, household products and basic remedies at low prices. He began large-scale drug manufacture in 1892 and was soon controlling the world’s largest pharmaceutical retail trade, with over 1000 branches by 1931.  

245 years ago  

Johan Gadolin was born in Finland. In 1794, he isolated the element yttrium from a black mineral found in Ytterby, Sweden.