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Paul Muller, Swiss chemist

Paul Muller, Swiss chemist

C021/9064

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Credit

NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Paul Muller (1899-1965), Swiss chemist. Muller worked as a research chemist, initially investigating dyes and tanning agents. However, his love of botany lead him to investigate chemical means of protecting plants, including insecticides and seed disinfectants. One of the chemicals he tested was DDT (DichloroDiphenylTrichloroethane), which was first synthesised in 1873. It was shown to be effective against a wide number of pests and insect vectors of disease, including malaria, yellow fever and typhus. DDT was used extensively until the 1970s, when many countries banned it. Many insects had become resistant and its persistence in the environment caused damage to wildlife and humans. Muller was awarded the 1948 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his DDT work. Photographed in 1949.

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