Carl Bosch


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(1874–1940) German industrial chemist

Born in Cologne, Germany, Bosch was trained as both metallurgist and chemist and gained his doctorate under Johannes Wislicenus at Leipzig (1898). He joined the large German dyestuffs company, Badische Anilin und Soda Fabrik (BASF), in 1899. Following Fritz Haber's successful small-scale ammonia synthesis in 1909, Bosch began to develop a high-pressure ammonia plant at Oppau for BASF. The plant was opened in 1912 – a successful application of the Haber process on a large scale. Bosch also introduced the use of the water-gas shift reaction as a source of hydrogen for the process: CO + H2O = CO2 + H2

After World War I the large-scale ammonia fertilizer industry was established and the high-pressure technique was extended by BASF to the synthesis of methanol from carbon monoxide and hydrogen in 1923. Bosch was chairman of BASF's successor, IG Farben (1935–40) and concurrently director of the Kaiser Wilhelm institutes. He shared the Nobel Prize for chemistry with Friedrich Bergius in 1931.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — Science and Mathematics.