The Scientist Who Killed Millions and Saved Billions

Fritz Haber is the researcher who arguably most transformed the world. Offset your carbon footprint on Wren: ​https://www.wren.co/start/veritasium1. For the first 100 people who sign up, I will personally pay for the first month of your subscription!

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A big thanks to Dan Charles for writing a splendid biography of Fritz Haber, for taking the time to speak to us about it, and delivering treasured feedback. http://site.danielcharles.us https://ve42.co/Charles

Big thanks to Tom de Prinse from Explosions and Fire for aiding us with the chemistry of explosives. If you like explosions and/or fire, you will love his channel.

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References:

The primary reference used is Vaclav Smil’s excellent book, Enriching The Earth –
Smil, V. (2004). Enriching the earth: Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch, and the transformation of world food production. MIT press. – https://ve42.co/Smil

Mastermind: The Rise and Fall of Fritz Haber, the Nobel Laureate Who Launched the Age of Chemical Warfare, by Dan Charles – https://ve42.co/Charles

Stoltzenberg, D. (2004). Fritz Haber: Chemist, Nobel Laureate, German, Jew. Chemical Heritage Foundation. – https://ve42.co/Stoltzenberg

Postgate, J. R. (1982). The fundamentals of nitrogen fixation. CUP Archive. – https://ve42.co/postgate

Miles, A. G. (1992). Biological nitrogen fixation. – https://ve42.co/Miles

Friedrich, B., & Hoffmann, D. (2017). Clara Immerwahr: A life in the shadow of Fritz Haber. In One Hundred Years of Chemical Warfare: Research, Deployment, Consequences(pp. 45-67). Springer, Cham. – https://ve42.co/Friedrich2017

Da Silva, G. (2020). What is ammonium nitrate, the chemical that exploded in Beirut. Sci Am, 5. – https://ve42.co/Silva

Rodrigues, P., & Micael, J. (2021). The importance of guano birds to the Inca Empire and the first conservation measures implemented by humans. – https://ve42.co/rodrigues

Allison, F. E. (1957). Nitrogen and soil fertility. Soil, the, 85-94. – https://ve42.co/Allison

Crookes, W. (1898). Address of the President before the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Bristol, 1898. Science, 8(200), 561-575. – https://ve42.co/Crookes

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Written by Petr Lebedev, Derek Muller, Felicity Nelson and Kovi Rose
Edited by Trenton Oliver
Animation by Jakub Mistek, Fabio Albertelli, Ivy Tello, Alex Drakoulis, Nils Ramses Kullack, and Charlie Davies
SFX by Shaun Clifford
Filmed by Petr Lebedev, Derek Muller and Raquel Nuno
Photo of nitrogen deficiency in rice from https://ve42.co/rice
Additional video/photos supplied by Getty Images
Music from Epidemic Sound: https://ve42.co/music

13 Comments:

  1. Let’s use chemistry for good! If you want to offset your carbon emissions I will personally cover the first month of your subscription at https://ve42.co/Wren (for the first 100 people to sign up)

  2. Satoshi Nakamoto I am the real Satoshi

    He is wrong

  3. Guano! Collect the whole set.

  4. 20:30 Good point apart from the whole.. Chlorine saga. That was quite purposefully made with his knowledge to do harm. Sure someone else might have invented it and I’d say let it be them. He has to take that one on the chin. For whatever context you want to put it in to he still made that choice. So yeah he’s kind of a dick or a villain whatever box you want to try fit him in. Each decision he made benefitted him or was selfishly driven. Even his stance of solidarity was from a place of ego because he was Jewish he didn’t stand in solidarity for not trying to make chemical weapons because they hurt people. Fertiliser again he benefitted. No matter how smart or intelligent people are their ego seems to be such a big driver and it is this nature I believe that makes the double edged sword exist in the first place.

    But you can also see this nature reflected in his partner who says for everything he has gained she lost. The man was selfish that much can be deduced.

  5. cheri lynn fisher

    Guano

  6. ✝️
    *For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,*
    I Corinthians 15:3‭-‬4

  7. By stopping the power we give those ppl.

  8. Ayre bhal sabe7

    Haber is mid. I can name 683 people ive met irl smarter than him.

  9. Harry CallahanX

    Climate crisis cult is the biggest fraud in history

  10. The Fritz Haber process is one of the most beautiful chemical syntheses. Undoubtedly he is one of the greatest German scientists and a true patriot of Germany.Everyone knows who Einstein is, and what did he do for science? But few people know about how Haber saved Germany from starvation, and the army from complete defeat, since without the Chilean saltpeter, inaccessible due to the naval blockade, the production of ammunition is impossible.Thank you so much for this essay.

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