Honoring Clara Immerwahr: a heroine of chemistry and humanityIdea by Pierre Waithe | added on Nov 30, 2011 12:57PM Collaboration
Clara Immerwahr is a German chemist who took a lone but courageous stand against her nation and her infamous husband/rival, famed chemist Fritz Haber in opposition to chemical warfare during World War One.
Clara Immerwahr is a German chemist who took a lone but courageous stand against her nation and her infamous husband/rival, famed chemist Fritz Haber in opposition to chemical warfare during World War One. She deeply despised her husband, Haber, for his work on behalf of the German military during the war of leading that nation's chemical warfare program. At that time, Germany was locked in a war with opposing Allied forces and was seeking a military edge against them which they briefly found in chemical weapons (until the Allies retaliated in kind). Ms Immerwahr was even once quoted as referring to chemical weapons as "a perversion of science." Ms. Immerwahr strongly believed that science should contribute to the betterment of humanity's existence. Ms. Immerwahr would later take her own life in a final but passionate act of protest against her husband's work with chemical weapons and Germany's use of them. It's far more notable to focus not so much on the fact that her death was by her own hand and thus controversial (as most suicides are), but rather the message that she was trying to convey to the world through her death. "Women in Science" is one of the main themes of IYC 2011. It's about honoring the roles of women in science and their contributions to it. While the IYC has honored and greatly highlighted the scientific contributions of Madame Curie (and rightfully so), it should also be noted that she is not the only heroine in chemistry and the overall realm of science. Ms. Immerwahr should also be recognized and celebrated for her contributions to chemistry. I am requesting that Ms. Immerwahr be recognized and honored on this forum and by the IYC committee for her civic courage and sacrificing her life to defend, uphold and promote the values, dignity and reputation of chemistry. The IYC would be remiss to not recognize Clara Immerwahr.