Eulogy for Fritz Haber

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“During peace time a scientist belongs to the world, but during war time he belongs to his country”-Fritz Haber

Here lies the ashes of the famous chemist Fritz Haber and his first wife Clara. Fritz had a heart attack and managed to recover, but not fully. He died of heart failure on January 29, 1934 at the age of 65. This “Father of Chemical Warfare” is known for developing and deploying chlorine and other poisonous gases, the development of gas masks with absorbent filters, and trench warfare in World War 1. Even though he was too old to enlist in military service, this scientist was given the rank of captain. He was most known for the Haber process (the reaction of nitrogen fixation to industrially produce ammonia), the Haber-Weiss reaction (a reaction in cells that creates oxidative stress), and the development of several fertilizers and explosives. He was also given the Nobel Peace Prize in 1918 for synthesizing ammonia for fertilizers and explosives. In 1898 Haber published a textbook on Electrochemistry, which was based on some lectures he gave. In 1905 he had published his book on the thermodynamics of technical gas reactions, in which he recorded the production of small amounts of ammonia from N2 and H2 at a temperature of 1000° C with the help of iron as a catalyst. This German chemist was proud of his work even when no one, including his family, stood with him. Clara and his first son later committed suicide because of the shame in what Haber did in chemical warfare, but even the lack of faith in his family didn’t slow him down. He will be dearly missed, but always remembered.
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