Nobel Prize Award for Chemistry 1931 - 1935

About the winners of the Nobel Prize for chemistry from 1931 to 1936 including Bosch, Urey, and Joliet-Curie, what they won for, as well as behind the scenes information on the decision.

1931 Carl Bosch (1874-1940), German.

Friedrich Bergius (1884-1949), German. Work: Invented and developed chemical high-pressure methods.

Behind the Award--The Haber-Bosch method for synthetic production of ammonia is now in use almost everywhere in the world, to manufacture nitrogen fertilizers. The annual total amount is calculated in millions of tons.

1932 Irving Langmuir (1881-1957), American. Work: Discovered fundamental properties of absorbed films and investigated surface chemistry.

1933 No Award

1934 Harold C. Urey (1893- ), American. Work: Discovered heavy hydrogen, or deuterium.

Behind the Award--Working from Aston's isotope researches, Urey announced the discovery of heavy hydrogen in 1931 during his work at Columbia University. The Nobel committee gave Urey full credit, but the chemist set the record straight during his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in Stockholm. He described the valued assistance he received from his research associate, Dr. G. M. Murphy, during the studies. Inadvertently, the award to Urey helped the U.S. to win the war against Japan in 1945. The eminent recognition he had received brought him into the "Manhattan Project," the U.S. military program set up for the development of the atomic bomb. As head of the gaseous-diffusion program for uranium separation, Urey's fame attracted the scientific talent which produced the nuclear bomb that forced the Japanese surrender.

1935 Frederic Joliet-Curie (1900-1958), French.

Irene Joliet-Curie (1897-1956), French. Work: Synthesized new radioactive elements. Behind the Award--Irene Joliet-Curie, the daughter of Nobel Prize winners Pierre and Marie Curie, became director at the Curie Laboratory of the Radium Institute, Paris, succeeding her mother in 1932. The research for which she was jointly awarded the 1935 prize eventually killed her. In 1956, she died from leukemia caused by overexposure to the radioactive materials used in the experiments. Her husband, Frederic Joliet-Curie, became head of the French atomic energy commission in 1946. Four years later, the uproar caused by his avowed dedication to the French Communist party forced his resignation.

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