The often controversial German chemist Fritz Haber is known as the "father of chemical warfare," a title which he achieved during the years leading up to World War I. He began his work by synthesizing ammonia, which is a process that is necessary to make not only fertilizer, but also bombs. The Born-Haber cycle is a method of ammonia processing which is an effective technique for evaluating energy production, and he also coined a way to produce fertilizer using raw ammonia as the base of this chain of production. This helped him achieve a high degree of fame and notoriety, as at the time there was a worldwide fear of overpopulation and starvation without a way to produce more food.
During the First World War, Fritz Haber turned his eyes to the development of poisonous gases and poisons. This also led to the development of gas masks that were able to block similar poisons from the enemy, which is still a filtration technology that is used to this day. There was some political opposition over the ethics of developing these weapons. In addition, his wife at the time, Clara Immerwahr, shot herself in the heart over her opposition to his work in this field, and his son also committed suicide due to his personal shame for this work in the chemical warfare industry. However, Haber continued with his work despite the personal setbacks that he received.
Fritz Haber began his studies at the University of Heidelberg, and continued at the University of Berlin for more advanced work in chemistry and research. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1918 for his work in developing industrial fertilizer from ammonia, which was thought to solve a major world crisis of the crop shortage. The ammonia was transformed in his process from hydrogen and nitrogen, eliminating the need to rely on sodium nitrate as it fertilizer had been in the past. He also managed to separate gold form sea water, worked on research projects involving electrochemistry, and the production of free radicals. Much of this was performed at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry and Elektrochemistry.
Also during World War I, Fritz Haber not only was responsible for being the team leader for those scientists developing deadly chlorine gas to be used in the trenches, he was also there in person to help make sure it was released correctly. As a result, he was promoted to a captain by the Kaiser of Germany, for his military service. Cyanide gas was also experimented with, and eventually this research was turned into the potentially more useful insecticide for agricultural purposes.