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Environment

Another Presidential Chemist

April 21, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 16

“Chemist To Run for President of Israel” highlights Chemistry Nobel Laureate Dan Shechtman but misses the opportunity to state that Israel’s first president, Chaim Weizmann, was also a chemist (C&EN, Feb. 10, page 23). He held a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. Weizmann was active well beyond laboratory chemistry.

His scientific legacy continues at Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, which he lobbied for founding as a Jewish higher education facility focusing on science and technology, and later for the Daniel Sieff Research Institute, subsequently renamed the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Weizmann was also active politically and materially in British World War I efforts, both advising strategy and as an early developer of bacterial fermentation for industrial-scale production. He provided a major source of acetone, which was critically needed for the Allies to produce explosive propellants.

Ronald Sheinson
Silver Spring, Md.

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