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Clara Immerwahr



Clara Immerwahr

Clara Immerwahr (1870-1915)
BornJune 21 1870(1870-06-21)
Polkendorf near Breslau, today Poland
DiedMay 2 1915 (aged 44)
Berlin-Dahlem, Germany
Residence Germany
Nationality German
FieldChemistry
Alma materUniversity of Breslau
Academic advisor  Richard Abegg

Clara Immerwahr (June 21, 1870 – May 2, 1915) was a German chemist and the wife of Fritz Haber, who was most widely known for his development of the Haber-Bosch process, an effective method of synthesizing ammonia.

Additional recommended knowledge

Contents

Education

Immerwahr studied at the University of Breslau, attaining her degree and a Ph.D. in chemistry. She was the first woman Ph.D. at the University of Breslau.[1] She married Haber in 1901.

Marriage and work

Constrained by the female stereotypes of the time, her scientific research was hindered. She instead contributed to her husband's work without recognition, translating his works into the English language.

Confiding in a friend, Immerwahr bemoaned her newfound subservient role as a housewife:

It has always been my attitude that a life has only been worth living if one has made full use of all one's abilities and tried to live out every kind of experience human life has to offer. It was under that impulse, among other things, that I decided to get married at that time... The life I got from it was very bried...and the main reasons for that was Fritz's oppressive way of putting himself first in our home and marriage, so that a less ruthlessly self-assertive personality was simply destroyed.[2] [3]

During World War I, Haber became a staunch supporter of the German military effort and played an important role in the development of chemical weapons (particularly poison gases). His efforts would culminate in the first gas attack in military history in Flanders, Belgium on April 22 1915. Haber thereafter returned home to Berlin.

Death

Shortly after his return, Immerwahr picked up Haber's military pistol and shot herself in the chest. She died in her son's arms. The morning after her death, Haber immediately left home to stage the first gas attack against the Russians on the Eastern Front.[4] [5] Her suicide remained largely in the dark; it was never in the newspapers and there is no evidence of an autopsy. The undocumented nature of her death has led to much controversy as to her motives.

Haber later left Germany because of Nazi persecution. Immerwahr's son, Hermann Haber, immigrated to the United States and later committed suicide in 1946.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Cornwell, John (2003). Hitler's Scientists, Science, War and the Devil's Pact. Penguin Press, 49. ISBN 0-14-20-0480-4. 
  2. ^ Cornwell, John (2003). Hitler's Scientists, Science, War and the Devil's Pact. Penguin Press, 49. ISBN 0-14-20-0480-4. 
  3. ^ Stoltzenberg, Dietrich (1998). Fritz haber: Chemiker, Nobelpreistrager, Deutscher, Jude: eine Biographie. Weinheim. 
  4. ^ Cornwell, John (2003). Hitler's Scientists, Science, War and the Devil's Pact. Penguin Press, 65. ISBN 0-14-20-0480-4. 
  5. ^ Stoltzenberg, Dietrich (1998). Fritz haber: Chemiker, Nobelpreistrager, Deutscher, Jude: eine Biographie. Weinheim, 356. 
 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Clara_Immerwahr". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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