1 January

1833: In “Theory of Ethers” published in the Dublin Journal of Medical and Chemical Science, Robert Kane suggested that ether or oxide of ethereum  (4C  4H)+H+O, alcohol or hydrate of oxide of ethereum (4C+4H)+H+O+H, muriatic ether (4C+4H)+(H+O), nitrous ether N+(4C+4H)+(H+O), etc could be regarded as compounds of the radical ((4C+4H)+H. This paper according to Liebig who a year later named the radical, C2H5) “ethyl” was “a subject of amusement and ridicule among chemical circles in Dublin”.

1891: Merck & Co. was founded. The company was established in 1891 as the United States subsidiary of the German company Merck, which was founded in 1668 by the Merck family. Merck & Co. was expropriated by the US government during World War I and subsequently established as an independent American company in 1917. While it operates as Merck & Co. in the United States and Canada, the original Merck based in Darmstadt holds the rights to the Merck name everywhere else. Merck & Co. is the world’s seventh largest pharmaceutical company by market capitalization and revenue. Its headquarters is located in Kenilworth, New Jersey. The company ranked No. 78 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue. Merck & Co. publishes The Merck Manuals, a series of medical reference books for physicians, nurses, technicians, and veterinarians. These include the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, the world’s best-selling medical reference. The Merck Index, a compendium of chemical compounds, was formerly published by Merck & Co. before being acquired by the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2012.

1907: Aluminium Company of America (ALCOA, originally Pittsburgh Reduction Company) was renamed.

1913: A Van den Broek, an independent scientist from Utrecht suggested in a short communication in Nature that nuclear charge in electron units is equal to the ordinal number of the element in the periodic table counting from hydrogen as unity – a year before Henry Moseley’s experimental verification.

Harold C. Urey

1932: The discovery of deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen (H, element 1) was announced by American chemist Harold C. Urey (for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1934) and his associates Ferdinand G. Brickwedde and George M. Murphy.  Urey predicted a difference between the vapour pressures of molecular hydrogen (H2) and of a corresponding molecule with one hydrogen atom replaced by deuterium (HD) and, thus, the possibility of separating these substances by distillation of liquid hydrogen. The deuterium was detected (by its atomic spectrum) in the residue of a distillation of liquid hydrogen. Deuterium was first prepared in pure form in 1933 by Gilbert N. Lewis, using the electrolytic method of concentration discovered by Edward Wight Washburn.

1947: U. S. Atomic Energy Commission took over nuclear oversight from wartime Manhattan Engineer District.

1966: Cigarettes in the US began carrying a warning label, “Caution: Cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health,” mandated by the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act of 1965.

Born on This Day

1852: Eugène-Anatole Demarçay: French chemist. He studied under Jean-Baptiste Dumas. During an experiment, an explosion destroyed the sight in one of his eyes. He was a spectrum specialist. In 1896, he suspected samples of the recently discovered element samarium were contaminated with an unknown element, which he isolated in 1901, naming it europium. In 1898 he used his skills of spectroscopy to help Marie Curie confirm that she had discovered the element radium

1876: Harriet Brooks: Canadian female nuclear physicist. She is most famous for her research on nuclear transmutations and radioactivity. Ernest Rutherford, who guided her graduate work, regarded her as being next to Marie Curie in the calibre of her aptitude. She was among the first persons to discover radon and to try to determine its atomic mass.