Dr. Carl Bosch was born in Cologne, Germany on August 27, 1874, the eldest son of a south German engineer. He did well in science at school, and before going to college spent a year working as a metal fabricator. He then studied chemistry under J. A. Wislicenus at Leipzig University, where he took his doctorate in 1898. He then took a job with Badische Anilin-und-Soda-Fabrik (BASF), a large German chemical company making dyestuffs. In 1908 Fritz Haber told BASF of his ammonia synthesis process, and Bosch was assigned the task of developing it on an industrial scale. By the end of 1913 he had completed the the monumental job, the largest single undertaking in the history of chemical engineering. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1931 for his work on high-pressure synthesis.
Bosch's consuming passion was mineral collecting. He had become interested in minerals at an early age, and as his income grew his collection likewise expanded rapidly. He purchased the excellent collection of Gustav Seligmann (1849-1920) and merged it with his own. Bosch's minerals, over 25,000 specimens total, eventually occupied 38 handsome oak cabinets, each with 16 to 20 drawers and topped by a glass-fronted exhibit case with four risers for displaying the larger and more spectacular specimens. Bosch also had an enormous insect collection, a minor fossil collection and a large scientific library. These collections survived the war in Heidelberg, though Bosch himself died on April 26, 1940.
Because Bosch had been chairman of IG Farben at the beginning of World War II, his collection was confiscated by the Allies after the war; in 1947 it was transported to the United States aboard two Liberty ships and stored in Brooklyn. In 1951 the mineral collection was sent to Yale on a 15-year loan. In 1966 the collection was released to Bosch's descendants and they sold it to the Smithsonian Institution for $250,000.
Bosch had recorded his purchase price in code on the back of his handwritten labels --the code was deciphered and proved to be the letters of the mineral name amblygonit representing the digits 1 through 9 and 0.
ROE, A. (1978) The Carl Bosch mineral collection. Mineralogical Record, 9, 181-187.
WILLIAMS, T. (Ed.)(1994) Biographical Dictionary of Scientists. Harper-Collins, Glasgow.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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Number of labels found: 9 | Labels being viewed: 9 to 9
||50 x 76 mm|