Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Did You Know? Fun Facts about ECBC's 95 years!

This year Edgewood Chemical Biological Center celebrates 95 years of integrating lifecycle science, engineering and operations solutions to counter chemical biological threats to U.S. forces and the nation. In honor of this historical milestone, the Center is running a special ECBC History Blog series throughout the month of January. In this last installment, learn some little known facts about the history of the use of chemicals.

  • One of the earliest proposals for the design of a mask to protect an individual against toxic fumes came from the notes of Leonardo da Vinci. 

  • The use of animals to detect biological agents was used as an early field detector in Hawaii shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Fear of a follow-up Japanese biological attack led the Chemical Warfare Service to put small fish in aquariums at key locations.

  • Johann Baptista van Helmont (1577-1644), born in Brussels, began to identify various gases given off by different processes like combustion, fermentation, and the heating of organic matter. While studying the chemistry of air, he shattered so many containers while generating gases from various chemical reactions, that he coined the term “gas” from the Greek word for chaos.

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