Carl Bosch

Carl Bosch (27 August 1874 – 26 April 1940) was a German chemist and engineer and Nobel Laureate in Chemistry.[2] He was a pioneer in the field of high-pressure industrial chemistry and founder of IG Farben, at one point the world's largest chemical company.

Carl Bosch
Carl Bosch
Born27 August 1874
Died26 April 1940 (aged 65)
Heidelberg, Germany
Alma materTechnical University of Berlin
Known forHaber–Bosch process
Scientific career
InstitutionsBASF, IG Farben
Doctoral advisorJohannes Wislicenus[1]
Carl Bosch Signature


Early years

Carl Bosch was born in Cologne, Germany to a successful gas and plumbing supplier.[3] His uncle Robert Bosch pioneered the development of the spark plug. Carl, trying to decide between a career in metallurgy or chemistry, studied at the Königlich Technische Hochschule Charlottenburg (now the Technical University of Berlin) and the University of Leipzig from 1892–1898.


Carl Bosch attended the University of Leipzig, and this is where he studied under Johannes Wislicenus,[4] and he obtained his doctorate in 1898 for research in organic chemistry. After he left In 1899 he took an entry level job at BASF, then Germany's largest chemical and dye firm. From 1909 until 1913 he transformed Fritz Haber's tabletop demonstration of a method to fix nitrogen using high pressure chemistry through the Haber–Bosch process to produce synthetic nitrate, a process that has countless industrial applications for making a near-infinite variety of industrial compounds, consumer goods, and commercial products. His primary contribution was to expand the scale of the process, enabling the industrial production of vast quantities of synthetic nitrate. To do this, he had to construct a plant and equipment that would function effectively under high gas pressures and high temperatures. There were many more obstacles as well, such as discovering a practical catalyst, designing large compressors and safe high-pressure furnaces. A means was needed to provide pure hydrogen gas in quantity as the feedstock. Also, cheap and safe means had to be developed to clean and process the product ammonia. The first full-scale Haber-Bosch plant was erected in Oppau, Germany, now part of Ludwigshafen. With the process complete he was able to synthesize large amounts of ammonia, which was available for the industrial and agricultural fields. In fact, this production has increased the agricultural yields throughout the world.[3] This work won him the Nobel prize for Chemistry in 1931.

After World War I Bosch extended high-pressure techniques to the production of synthetic fuel via the Bergius process and methanol. In 1925 Bosch helped found and was the first head of IG Farben and from 1935 chairman of the board of directors. He received the Siemens-Ring in 1924 for his contributions to applied research and his support of basic research. In 1931 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry together with Friedrich Bergius for the introduction of high pressure chemistry. Today the Haber–Bosch process produces 100 million tons of nitrogen fertilizer every year.[5]

Personal life

Bosch, a critic of many Nazi policies, was gradually relieved of his high positions after Hitler became chancellor, and fell into depression and alcoholism.[3] He died in Heidelberg.


The Haber–Bosch Process today consumes more than one percent of humanity's energy production and is responsible for feeding roughly one-third of its population.[6] On average, one-half of the nitrogen in a human body comes from synthetically fixed sources, the product of a Haber–Bosch plant.[7] Bosch was an ardent collector of insects, minerals, and gems. His collected meteorites and other mineral samples were loaned to Yale University, and eventually purchased by the Smithsonian.[8][9] He was an amateur astronomer with a well-equipped private observatory. The asteroid 7414 Bosch was named in his honour.[10]

Carl Bosch along with Fritz Haber were voted the world's most influential chemical engineers of all time by members of the Institution of Chemical Engineers.[11]

The Haber-Bosch process, quite possibly the best-known chemical process in the world, which captures nitrogen from the air and converts it to ammonia, has its hand in the process of the Green Revolution that has been feeding the increasing population of the world.[12]

Bosch also won numerous awards including an honorary doctorate from Hochschule Karlsruhe (1918), the Liebig Memorial Medal of the Association of German Chemists along with the Bunsen Medal of the German Bunsen Society, the Siemens Ring, and the Golden Grashof Memorial medal of the VDI. In 1931 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for the contribution to the invention of chemical high pressure methods. He also received the Exner medal from the Austrian Trade Association and the Carl Lueg Memorial Medal. Bosch also enjoyed his membership of various German and foreign scientific academics, and his chairmanship of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society of which he became the President in 1937.[13]

Awards and honours

See also


  1. ^ Entry at Academic Tree
  2. ^ "Carl Bosch - Biographical". Nobel Media AB. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  3. ^ a b c Hager, Thomas (2008). The alchemy of air. New York: Harmony Books. ISBN 978-0-307-35178-4. OCLC 191318130.
  4. ^ "Carl Bosch | German chemist". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  5. ^ "Carl Bosch (German chemist)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  6. ^ Smil, Vaclav (2001). Enriching the earth. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. OCLC 61678151.
  7. ^ "Fixing the Nitrogen Fix, Can Chemistry Save The World?, Discovery - BBC World Service". BBC. Retrieved 2016-08-27.
  8. ^ Wilson, Wendell E. (2013). "Carl Bosch (1874–1940)". Biographical Archive. The Mineralogical Record. Archived from the original on 2006-09-28. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  9. ^ Servos, Kurt (1954). "Meteorites in the Carl Bosch Collection of Minerals Yale University". Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 5 (6): 299–300. Bibcode:1954GeCoA...5..299S. doi:10.1016/0016-7037(54)90037-X.(registration required)
  10. ^ Lehmann, Gerhard; Kandler, Jens; Knöfel, André (2004-10-27). "Amateurastronomen am Sternenhimmel" (in German). Amateure am Sternenhimmel. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  11. ^ "Haber and Bosch named top chemical engineers". Institution of Chemical Engineers. 2011-02-21. Archived from the original on 2013-10-05. Retrieved 2013-12-15.
  12. ^ "Chemical engineers who changed the world". tce today. Institution of Chemical Engineers. March 2010. 2010 Entries: Feed the world. Archived from the original on 2011-03-20.
  13. ^ "Famous Scientists - Carl Bosch". The Human Touch of Chemistry. Tata Chemicals. Archived from the original on 2013-06-29. Retrieved 2013-12-15.

Further reading

External links

Bosch (crater)

Bosch is a small lunar impact crater near the North Pole of the Moon. It is located just to the northeast of Rozhdestvenskiy W

This crater was previously unnamed until it was given a name by the IAU along with 18 other craters on January 22, 2009. It was named after German Chemist and Nobel Prize winner Carl Bosch (c. 1874 – c. 1940).

Bosch reaction

The Bosch reaction is a chemical reaction between carbon dioxide and hydrogen that produces elemental carbon (graphite), water, and a 10% return of invested heat. It is named after the German chemist Carl Bosch. This reaction requires the introduction of iron as a catalyst and requires a temperature level of 530-730 degrees Celsius.The overall reaction is as follows:

CO2(g) + 2 H2(g) → C(s) + 2 H2O(g)

The above reaction is actually the result of two reactions. The first reaction, the reverse water gas shift reaction, is a fast one:

CO2 + H2 → CO + H2O

The second reaction is the rate determining step:

CO + H2 → C + H2O

The overall reaction produces 2.3×103 joules for every gram of carbon dioxide reacted at 650 °C. Reaction temperatures are in the range of 450 to 600 °C.

The reaction can be accelerated in the presence of an iron, cobalt or nickel catalyst. Ruthenium also serves to speed up the reaction.

Together with the Sabatier reaction, the Bosch reaction is studied as a way to remove carbon dioxide and to generate clean water aboard a space station.The reaction is also used to produce graphite for radiocarbon dating with Accelerator Mass Spectrometry.

The Bosch reaction is being investigated for use in maintaining space station life support. Though the Bosch reaction would present a completely closed hydrogen and oxygen cycle which only produces atomic carbon as waste, difficulties in maintaining its higher required temperature and properly handling carbon deposits mean that significantly more research will be required before a Bosch reactor can become a reality. One problem is that the production of elemental carbon tends to foul the catalyst's surface, which is detrimental to the reaction's efficiency.

Carl Duisberg

Friedrich Carl Duisberg (29 September 1861 – 19 March 1935) was a German chemist and industrialist.

Carl Krauch

Carl Krauch (7 April 1887 – 3 February 1968) was a German chemist, industrialist and Nazi war criminal. He was an executive at BASF (later IG Farben); during World War II, he was chairman of the supervisory board. He was a key implementer of the Reich’s Four-Year Plan to achieve national economic self-sufficiency and promote industrial production. He was Plenipotentiary of Special Issues in Chemical Production, a senator of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, and an honorary professor at the University of Berlin. He was convicted in the IG Farben trial after World War II and sentenced to six years in prison.

Carl Wurster

Carl Wurster (2 December 1900, in Stuttgart – 14 December 1974, in Frankenthal) was a German chemist and Wehrwirtschaftsführer (war economy leader) during the Third Reich. He subsequently became one of the leading figures in post-war Germany's industrial life.

Erich von der Heyde

Erich von der Heyde (1 May 1900 – 5 August 1984) was a German agronomist at IG Farben, an SS-Hauptscharführer and a defendant at the IG Farben Trial in Nuremberg.

Friedrich Bergius

Friedrich Karl Rudolf Bergius (11 October 1884 – 30 March 1949) was a German chemist known for the Bergius process for producing synthetic fuel from coal, Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1931, together with Carl Bosch) in recognition of contributions to the invention and development of chemical high-pressure methods. Having worked with IG Farben during World War II, his citizenship came into question following the war, causing him to ultimately flee to Argentina, where he acted as adviser to the Ministry of Industry.Bergius was born near Breslau (Wrocław), within the German Empire's Prussian Province of Silesia.

Fritz Gajewski

Friedrich Gajewski (born 13 October 1885 in Pillau – died 2 December 1965 in Cologne) was a German businessman with IG Farben and Wehrwirtschaftsführer (war industry leader) during the Second World War.

Haber process

The Haber process, also called the Haber–Bosch process, is an artificial nitrogen fixation process and is the main industrial procedure for the production of ammonia today. It is named after its inventors, the German chemists Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch, who developed it in the first decade of the 20th century. The process converts atmospheric nitrogen (N2) to ammonia (NH3) by a reaction with hydrogen (H2) using a metal catalyst under high temperatures and pressures:

Before the development of the Haber process, ammonia had been difficult to produce on an industrial scale, with early methods such as the Birkeland–Eyde process and Frank–Caro process all being highly inefficient.

Although the Haber process is mainly used to produce fertilizer today, during World War I it provided Germany with a source of ammonia for the production of explosives, compensating for the Allied Powers' trade blockade on Chilean saltpeter.

Heinrich Oster

Heinrich Oster (born 9 May 1878 in Strasbourg – died 29 October 1954 in Essen) was a German chemist, executive at BASF and IG Farben and convicted Nazi war criminal.

Hermann Schmitz

Hermann Schmitz (1 January 1881 – 8 October 1960) was a German industrialist and Nazi war criminal. CEO of IG Farben from 1935 to 1945, he was sentenced to four years in prison in the IG Farben Trial.

Schmitz was born in Hessen on 1 January 1881, son of factory worker Diedrich Schmitz and Luise Wöhrmann. In 1898 he began studying at Ahrenbergische Aktiengesellschaft für Bergbau und Hüttenbetrieb in Hessen, and in 1905 he entered the Commerce College in Nuremberg. After completing his studies, he was hired by Metallurgische Gesellschaft (metallurgy company), where after some time he became consultant of Wilhelm Merton, member of the superivosors' council of the company, who helped Schmitz promote his career.

In 1914 he was required to serve in the army. He was injured during the First World War and, after recovering from his injuries, he was made Reich's supervisor for chemical products production in the matériel department (1915).

In 1919, as an expert in fertilizers and nitric salts, he took part in the assembly that negotiated the Treaty of Versailles. There he met Carl Bosch, a chemist of worldwide fame. In July 1919 Schmitz was hired at BASF by Bosch as his financial advisor. He was promoted to administrator of BASF's exterior department, a position he maintained after the company became part of IG Farben. As per his job requirements he maintained contacts with large businesses, such as Standard Oil, with which he took part in negotiations, always having the support of that era's governments in the interests of IG Farben.

Heterogeneous catalysis

In chemistry, heterogeneous catalysis also refers to the form of catalysis where the phase of the catalyst differs from that of the reactants. Phase here refers not only to solid, liquid, vs gas, but also immiscible liquids, e.g. oil and water. The great majority of practical heterogeneous catalysts are solids and the great majority of reactants are gases or liquids. Heterogeneous catalysis is of paramount importance in many areas of the chemical and energy industries. Heterogeneous catalysis has attracted Nobel prizes for Fritz Haber in 1918, Carl Bosch in 1931, Irving Langmuir in 1932, and Gerhard Ertl in 2007.

Hoechst AG

Hoechst AG (German pronunciation: [ˈhøːkst]) was a German chemicals then life-sciences company that became Aventis Deutschland after its merger with France's Rhône-Poulenc S.A. in 1999. With the new company's 2004 merger with Sanofi-Synthélabo, it became a subsidiary of the resulting Sanofi-Aventis pharmaceuticals group.

IG Farben

Interessen‐Gemeinschaft Farbenindustrie AG ("Dye industry syndicate, Inc."), commonly known as IG Farben, was a German chemical and pharmaceutical conglomerate. Formed in 1925 from a merger of six chemical companies—BASF, Bayer, Hoechst, Agfa, Chemische Fabrik Griesheim-Elektron, and Chemische Fabrik vorm. Weiler Ter Meer—it was seized by the Allies after World War II and divided back into its constituent companies.In its heyday, IG Farben was the largest company in Europe and the largest chemical and pharmaceutical company in the world. IG Farben scientists made fundamental contributions to all areas of chemistry and the pharmaceutical industry. Otto Bayer discovered the polyaddition for the synthesis of polyurethane in 1937, and several company scientists became Nobel laureates: Carl Bosch and Friedrich Bergius in 1931 "for their contributions to the invention and development of chemical high pressure methods", and Gerhard Domagk in 1939 "for the discovery of the antibacterial effects of prontosil".The company had ties in the 1920s to the liberal German People's Party and was accused by the Nazis of being an "international capitalist Jewish company". A decade later it was a Nazi Party donor and, after the Nazi takeover of Germany in 1933, a major government contractor, providing significant materiel for the German war effort. Throughout that decade it purged itself of its Jewish employees; the remainder left in 1938. Described as "the most notorious German industrial concern during the Third Reich", IG Farben relied in the 1940s on slave labour from concentration camps, including 30,000 from Auschwitz. One of its subsidiaries supplied the poison gas, Zyklon B, that killed over one million people in gas chambers during the Holocaust.The Allies seized the company at the end of the war in 1945 and the US authorities put its directors on trial. Held from 1947 to 1948 as one of the subsequent Nuremberg trials, the IG Farben trial saw 23 IG Farben directors tried for war crimes and 13 convicted. By 1951 all had been released by the American high commissioner for Germany, John J. McCloy. What remained of IG Farben in the West was split in 1951 into its six constituent companies, then again into three: BASF, Bayer and Hoechst. These companies continued to operate as an informal cartel and played a major role in the West German Wirtschaftswunder. Following several later mergers the main successor companies are Agfa, BASF, Bayer and Sanofi. In 2004 the University of Frankfurt, housed in the former IG Farben head office, set up a permanent exhibition on campus, the Norbert Wollheim memorial, for the slave labourers and those killed by Zyklon B.

Imprimatur GmbH

The Imprimatur GmbH was a company which owned the Frankfurt newspaper Frankfurter Zeitung (FZ) from 1930 until it was shut down in 1943. During the period that FZ was owned by the Imprimatur, the prestigious newspaper was in financial distress situations and brought the company heavy losses.

The Imprimatur was founded in 1900 by Rudolf and Hermann Ullstein. In 1924, they sold the company to two investors: Carl Bosch, chairman of the board of IG Farben, and Dr. Hermann Hummel, who also served on the supervisory board of IG Farben. Six years later, Bosch sold his shares, leaving Hummel as the sole shareholder of the Imprimatur.

The company was later sold to the prominent banking family of Leopold Sonnemann. Although the paper was initially protected by the Nazis, as it provided a convenient medium for propaganda, it was shut down by Adolf Hitler in 1943. The company subsequently went defunct.

Klaus Tschira Foundation

The Klaus Tschira Stiftung (KTS) is a German Foundation established by the physicist Klaus Tschira in 1995 as a non-profit organization. Its primary objective is to support projects in natural and computer sciences as well as mathematics. The KTS places strong emphasis on the public understanding in these fields. Klaus Tschira’s commitment to this objective was honored in 1999 with the "Deutscher Stifterpreis" by the German National Academic Foundation (German: Studienstiftung). The KTS is located at the Villa Bosch in Heidelberg, Germany, the former residence of Nobel Prize laureate for chemistry Carl Bosch (1874–1940).

List of German scientists

This is a list of notable German scientists.


Wehrwirtschaftsführer (WeWiFü) were, during the time of Nazi Germany (1933–1945), executives of companies or big factories called 'rüstungswichtiger Betrieb' (company important for the production of war materials).

Wehrwirtschaftsführer were appointed, starting 1935, by the 'Wehrwirtschafts- und Rüstungsamt' (department for implementing the policy of directing the nation's economic activity towards preparation for and support of the war effort, including armaments) being a part of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW), that was pushing the build-up of arms for the Wehrmacht.

The purpose of the appointment was to bind them to the Wehrmacht and to give them a quasi-military status.

After 1938, the Reich Ministry of Economics appointed the Wehrwirtschaftsführer. From 1940 on, this title was given more and more also to leading employees in companies not belonging to the armament branch, also to demonstrate that those companies were contributing to the wartime economy.

Especially before 1940, appointments did not indicate the political attitude of the person receiving the title. They also gave no information saying that his company / the company he was managing was important for the armament.

If a manager was appointed 'Wehrwirtschaftsführer', his company could more easily use negative employment laws for the workers and employees.

Appointed were (this is no complete list):

Gustav Böhme, owner of Dr. Ing. Böhme & Co., Metallwarenfabrik, Minden-Lubbecherstrasse. ()

Walter Borbet, chief executive officer and general director of the Bochumer Verein o coal mining company,

Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Borgward

William Borm

Carl Bosch

Max Brose

Richard Bruhn (Auto Union)

Heinrich Bütefisch (I.G. Farben)

August Diehn (Deutsches Kalisyndikat)

Carl Martin Dolezalek

Claude Dornier

Gerhard Fieseler

Friedrich Flick

Edmund Geilenberg

Ernst Heinkel

Jost Henkel

Heinrich Hunke

Robert Kabelac

Gustav Köllmann

Carl Krauch

Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach

Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach

Friedrich Linde

Karl Emanuel Merck

Wilhelm Emil Messerschmitt

Johannes Müller

Heinrich Nordhoff

Heinrich Notz

Hans Constantin Paulssen

Ernst Poensgen

Ferdinand Porsche

Günther Quandt

Wilhelm Renner

Fritz Reuther

Waldemar Rienäcker

Hermann Röchling

Willy Sachs

Eduard Schalfejew

Philipp Alois von Schoeller

Hans-Günther Sohl

Franz Stapelfeldt

Kurt Tank

Herbert Tengelmann

Hermann Terberger

Emil Tscheulin

Wilhelm Voss

Ludger Westrick

Wolf-Dietrich von Witzleben (Siemens)

Ernst Zindel

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