1980 In large part because of Love Canal, Congress passes the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act (Superfund).

1981 IBM Zurich’s Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer develop scanning tunneling microscopy, which Donald M. Eigler later uses to manipulate individual atoms.

1982 DuPont changes its slogan to “Better Things For Better Living,” dropping “Through Chemistry.”

1983 Sidney Altman and Thomas R. Cech independently show that RNA can be a catalyst.

1984 A methyl isocyanate leak at a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India, kills thousands.

1985 A hole in Earth’s atmospheric ozone layer is first observed over Antarctica.

1985 Robert F. Curl Jr., Harold W. Kroto, and Richard E. Smalley make the first observation of a new form of carbon: fullerenes. C60 becomes known as buckminsterfullerene, or buckyball for

1985 Kary B. Mullis reports the first polymerase chain

1986 The Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Soviet Union has a reactor core meltdown, releasing massive amounts of radiation.

1986 Congress creates the Toxics Release Inventory of hundreds of chemicals released into air, water, or land.

1986 Cambridge Scientific Co. debuts the ChemDraw structure-drawing program for computers.

1986 Johannes G. Bednorz and Karl A. Müller discover the first high-temperature superconductor.

1987 Eli Lilly & Co. receives approval to market Prozac (fluoxetine) to treat depression.

1987 Nations begin signing the Montreal protocol, an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer.

1987 FDA approves azidothymidine (AZT) to treat HIV/AIDS.

1988 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is established.

1989 The U.S. launches the Human Genome Project.

Download C&EN 90th Anniversary Poster Timeline (pdf)