Paul H. Muller life and biography

Paul H. Muller picture, image, poster

Paul H. Muller biography

Date of birth : 1899-01-12
Date of death : 1965-10-12
Birthplace : Olten, Switzerland
Nationality : Swiss
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2011-12-17
Credited as : Chemist, Synthesized DDT, Nobel laureate

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Paul Hermann Müller also known as Pauly Mueller (January 12, 1899 – October 12, 1965) was a Swiss chemist and Nobel laureate. In 1948 he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his 1939 discovery of insecticidal qualities and use of DDT in the control of vector diseases such as malaria and yellow fever.

Paul H. Müller synthesized dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), and showed that it was an effective insecticide. He was the first person to win a Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology who was not a medical doctor, and one of the first whose work was primarily in a corporate, rather than an academic environment.

Before attending college, Müller worked for two years as a lab assistant in the chem lab of an electric company, and after obtaining his PhD he spent his career at the J. R. Geigy Dye Factory, now a part of the interconnected Novartis-Ciba-Sandoz-Chiron corporate structure.

DDT, used to control mosquitoes spreading malaria, typhus, and other diseases, undoubtedly saved countless lives, but the compound was also used widely as an agricultural insecticide. Years later, biologist Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring pointed out the environmental dangers of DDT.

More than a billion pounds of the chemical had been poured and sprayed into the environment by the late 1960s, and DDT had worked its way into the fatty tissues of virtually every species of living thing on earth, from field mice to polar bears. DDT was banned for most uses in America in 1969, and in most other developed nations it has been banned from agricultural uses. In developing countries, DDT is still used to fight insect-borne diseases.

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