7. Nitrogen: Taking The Good With The Bad

Today we meet one man who’s responsible for the death of millions — and the survival of billions.

Featured above: Fritz Haber, with bald head and pince-nez glasses, couldn’t look more like a supervillain. Unfortunately, it’s a little more nuanced than that.

Unfortunately, show notes are a little light this week, as I’ve been last-minute posting the episode this week. I’ll include another post between now and when the next episode airs with some additional facts and links to other stories.

Click To Read Transcript


  1. Assembly Of Life Sciences (U.S.) Advisory Center On Toxicology, Toxicological Reports. 1968.
  2. Encyclopedia Britannica, Alfred Nobel. Last updated November 18, 2016.
  3. NIH, A Short History Of Nitroglycerin And Nitric Oxide In Pharmacology And Physiology. Marsh A., Marsh N. April 27, 2000.
  4. Descriptive Inorganic, Coordination, And Solid State Chemistry, p. 473. Glen E. Rodgers, 2011.
  5. Slate, A Dangerous Fixation. Jonathan Mingle, March 12, 2013.
  6. Encyclopedia Britannica, Fritz Haber. William B. Jensen, last updated October 23, 2017.
  7. Jewish Women’s Archive Encyclopedia, Clara Immerwahr. Jutta Dick, March 1, 2009.
  8. The Disappearing Spoon, p. XX. Same Kean 20xx.
  9. Nature, How A Century Of Ammonia Synthesis Changed The World.
  10. The Globalist, Seven Billion Humans: The World Fritz Haber Made. Martin Sieff, November 2, 2011.
  11. University of Bristol School of Chemistry, The Haber Process. Paul May.
  12. Famous Scientists, Fritz Haber.
  13. io9, Was Britain’s WWI Blockade The First Atrocity Of The 20th Century? George Dvorsky, December 1, 2014.
  14. Science History Institute, Fritz Haber. Last updated December 7, 2017.
  15. Independent, 100 Years On: The Day The First Poison Gas Attack Changed The Face Of Warfare Forever. David Hughes, April 22, 2015.
  16. The Globe And Mail, A Century Of WMDs: How Ypres Changed The World Forever. Doug Saunders, last updated June 5, 2017.
  17. History In An Hour, Fritz Haber And WWI Gas Warfare. April 22, 2014.
  18. Timeline, For The Jewish Chemist Who Invented Chemical Weapons, The Consequences Were Dire. Josh O’Connor, March 2, 2017.
  19. io9, Germany’s Post-World War I Scheme To Extract Gold From Seawater. Keith Veronese, May 10, 2013.
  20. BBC Radio 4, Fritz Haber: Jewish Chemist Whose Work Led To Zyklon-B. Chris Bowlby, April 12, 2011.
  21. Smithsonian.com, Fritz Haber’s Experiments In Life And Death. Gilbert King, June 6, 2012.
  22. Berlin: Portrait Of A City Through The Centuries, p. 149. Rory MacLean, 2014.
  23. The War Poetry Website, Wilfred Owen, Dulce Et Decorum Est.
  24. This moniker borrowed from The Mission, The Tragedy Of Fritz Haber: The Monster Who Fed The World. Paul Barach, August 2, 2016.

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