The first organic substance synthesized in the laboratory was urea, in 1828. It is the main terminal product of the protein metabolism in humans, and it is found mainly in the urine (about 20 g/L).
Albert Hofmann discovered LSD while studying various active substances. When analysing this compound, his fingertips absorbed part of it, and he experienced a series of strange sensations. To verify the cause, Hofmann took a second subsequent sample, and brought on a second hallucinogen-based journey.
There is a theory which states that the presence of lead in water pipes, in wine or in foods in Ancient Rome contributed to the city’s decadence. After analysing bone remains dating back to that time, it was discovered that the people there today have much higher levels of this element, which therefore rules out this theory.
Great small compounds
Every year, the chemical industry produces around 70,000 different chemical products. Of these, 80% of world production is composed of polymers and plastics. The compound produced on the largest scale is H2SO4, of which some 44 million Tm/year are produced.
In heterogeneous catalysis, surface is everything. The catalysts used inside a car catalytic converter have a surface that spread would cover about three football pitches.