May - 45 years ago; 105 years ago; 110 years ago; 175 years ago; 205 years ago

The birth control pill Enovid was granted US Food and Drug approval, becoming the first drug to be prescribed to healthy patients and for social reasons. It had already been available for two years to treat gynaecological disorders but the new approval meant it could also be prescribed to prevent pregnancy.

Erika Cremer was born in Munich, Germany, into a family of scientists. Research in isotope separation at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institut f?r Physikalische Chemie earned her awards and recognition. But she was not considered for a professorship because she was a women. She developed plans for a gas chromatography machine in the 1940s but the information was almost completely lost during bombings and air raids. The only remaining copy of her notes was finally published 30 years later.

Herman Mark, known for his research on the synthesis, structure, characterisation, reactions, and properties of natural and synthetic polymers, was born in Vienna, Austria. He was a director of IG Farben, one of the world’s largest chemical companies, in Germany in 1928 and emigrated to the US in 1938.

Fran?ois-Marie Raoult was born in Fournes, France. In 1887 he discovered that vapour pressure in many solutions is proportional to the number of molecules per unit volume in the solution - Raoult’s law.

William Nicholson was the first to see electrolysis. He dipped wires connected to a battery in water and saw gas bubbles due to the effect of current flow through water.