Landmarks Ahead in 2015
Lyon County Public Library, Eddyville, KY;
KELLY PNEUMATIC IRON PROCESS
Murray State University, Murray, KY
In 1847, William Kelly of Lyon County, KY, began experimenting with a
new method for refining iron. His discovery involved blowing air through
molten pig iron, a crude form of iron, in a specially designed cupola
furnace. Oxygen in the air combined with carbon in the iron to produce
heat without the use of fuel and removed impurities as oxides. When
combined with later chemical and mechanical improvements, Kelly’s
pneumatic process revolutionized the manufacture of iron and steel, two
key materials of the 20th century.
KEELING CURVE: ATMOSPHERIC CO2
Scripps Institution of Oceanography,
University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA;
Mauna Loa Observatory, National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration, Hilo, HI
In 1958, Charles David Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography
initiated a research program for the study of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
By 1960, Keeling published the results of his research, reporting evidence
of Earth’s natural, seasonal oscillations in CO2 and the annual increase in
CO2 as a result of fossil fuel combustion. Keeling’s dedication to the precise and continuous monitoring of atmospheric CO2 allowed these data
to become an unequivocal record of the global rise in CO2, an important
greenhouse gas and a major contributor to climate change.
EDWIN LAND AND INSTANT PHOTOGRAPHY
Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Edwin H. Land established the Land–Wheelwright Laboratories in 1932
to develop polarized sheet technology. In 1947, Land devised the one-step system of photography that would become known simply as Polaroid. The system centered on a novel viscous reagent, sealed within a
rupturable pod, that was spread by precision rollers between the exposed
negative and a positive image-receiving sheet. A celebrated inventor,
businessman, and scientific advisor, Land received numerous prestigious
awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National
Medal of Technology.
ISOLATION OF PHYTOCHROME
U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural
Research Service Beltsville Area Research Center,
Phytochrome is the photoreceptive pigment in plants that controls their
germination, growth, and flowering. This protein was isolated in 1959
after a 40-year research program by a multidisciplinary scientific team at
the USDA’s Beltsville Area Research Center. The discovery of phytochrome
elucidated the method by which plants detect daylight. This understanding allowed horticulturists to grow commercial crops in seasons and
latitudes not previously possible, both by manipulating the plant’s environment through greenhouse controls and by breeding plants that take
advantage of traits in plant periodism.
For information about the dedication ceremonies for each of these subjects
or to learn more about the NHCL program, visit www.acs.org/landmarks.
Here’s something you prob- ably do a dozen times each week: walk into the chemistry building on your campus. Let’s call it the John Smith Hall of
Chemistry. You go there for classes, labs,
meetings with your advisor, and study sessions with your student chapter colleagues.
In all the times you’ve walked through those
doors, have you ever stopped to wonder,
“Who was John Smith, and what did he do
Through its National Historic Chemical
Landmarks (NHCL) program, ACS recognizes
chemistry buildings and achievements in
the chemical sciences in an effort to provide
greater awareness of the chemist whose
name adorns the building, or the notable
chemical research that took place inside
those walls. More than 30 educational insti-
tutions in the United States are designated
ACS Chemical Landmarks. Each of these Land-
marks must relate to a seminal achievement
in the chemical sciences, be at least 25 years
old, and have provided a significant benefit
to the public.
ACS Landmarks are recognized at public
ceremonies that highlight the accomplish-
ments of each chemist being recognized.
Undergraduates are always invited to attend
these events, and students have even taken
on special roles at Landmark dedications.
Notable Chemistry Might Be Closer Than You Think
BY KEITH LINDBLOM
Percy L. Julian Science and
Take, for example, the Percy L. Julian Science and Mathematics Center at DePauw
University in Greencastle, IN. The Julian
Center memorializes a legend in natural
products research, whose research led to
the synthesis of drugs like physostigmine
(a glaucoma treatment) and hydrocortisone (a treatment for arthritis). Percy
Julian (1899–1975) succeeded in his field
despite the overt discrimination that he
faced as an African American during his
lifetime. In 1999, an ACS Landmark was
named in honor of his work.