Carl Bosch and the IG Farben

Carl Bosch

Carl Bosch

On August 27, 1874German chemist, engineer and Nobel Laureate Carl Bosch was born. 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 was born in Cologne and studied metallurgy and mechanical engineering at Berlin’s Technical University. During his studies, Bosch’s interest in chemistry evolved and he continued his education at Leipzig University reading chemistry. With a paper on organic chemistry, Carl Bosch graduated in 1898 and continued his career at the Badische Anilin- und Sodafabrik in Ludwigshafen where he actively participated in the development of synthetic indigo under the guidance of Dr. Rudolf Knietsch.

In 1908, the company he worked for acquired the process of high-pressure synthesis of ammonia, which had been developed the Technical University of Karlsruhe. Now, Bosch was given the task to develop the process on an industrial scale, which involved the construction of plant and apparatus and working at high gas pressure and high reaction temperatures. They also had to construct safe high-pressurized blast furnaces in order to produce and clean the gases necessary for the synthesis of ammonia. Step by step, Bosch managed to create a large scale industry around the process of high-pressure synthesis of ammonia. The next step was to make ammonia available for the industry, which Bosch also contributed to. He was appointed Managing Director of the Badische Anilin- und Sodafabrik in 1919 and in 1925 he became Principal of the I.G. Farbenindustrie Aktiengesellschaft. In the mid 1930s, Bosch became chairman of the company. In 1931 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, jointly with Friedrich Bergius, for their contributions to the invention and development of chemical high pressure methods.

At yovisto, you can learn more about ‘Chemistry matters: beyond the textbook’, a Nobel Prize video in which Nobel Laureates explain the importance of chemistry the many facets of the field of study.

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