The November in Sol-Gel (and Materials Chemistry) History

Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (Born 7 November 1888):
Indian Physicist who was awarded the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the phenomenon now known as the Raman effect, the basis of Raman spectroscopy. His discovery, reported in journals such as Nature, played an important role in debate on the validity of the (then) relatively new quantum theory. With the advent of laser light sources, Raman spectroscopy is now a standard technique for exploring chemical bonding and speciation, which is complementary to infrared spectroscopy. On 15 December 1998, the American Chemical Society and the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science jointly designated Raman’s discovery as an International Historic Chemical Landmark (see C.V. Raman The Raman Effect – Landmark – American Chemical Society (, Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman – Biographical –, C. V. Raman – Wikipedia and November 7 – Today in Science History – Scientistsborn on November 7th, died, and events).

Lene Vestergaard (Born 13 November 1959):
Danish physicist working on novel interactions between ultracold atoms and nano-scale systems. Her work involving Bose-Einstein condensates enabled her to decrease the speed of a beam of light to around 17 m/s in 1999, and in 2001 to stop it completely. This work has important implications for quantum encryption and quantum computing. In acknowledgement of her achievements, she was recognised in 2002 by DISCOVER Magazine as one of the 50 most important women in science (see The 50 Most Important Women in Science | Discover Magazine, Lene HAU (, Lene Hau | Biography & Facts | Britannica, Lene Hau – Wikipedia and Lene V. Hau | DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS (

Leo Hendrik Baekeland (Born 14 November 1863):
Belgian-American chemist who invented bakelite, the first thermosetting plastic that did not soften when it was heated. His first successful invention in the 1890s was a photographic paper named Velox which he sold to George Eastman for $1M in 1899 (valued at around $32.6M in 2021). His invention of bakelite, which involved a formaldehyde/phenol reaction, was used to fabricate insulators as well as moulded buttons, knobs and many other items, and helped to found the modern plastics industry. This work was designated as a National Historic Chemical Landmark by the ACS on 9 November 1993 and he was inducted into the US National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1978 (see Bakelite First Synthetic Plastic – National Historic Chemical Landmark – American Chemical Society (, Leo Hendrik Baekeland | Science History Institute, baekeland-leo-h.pdf (, National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee Leo Baekeland and Bakelite and November 14 – Today in Science History – Scientists born on November 14th, died, and events ).