Nieuwland, Julius Arthur

Nieuwland, Julius Arthur

(1878–1936) Roman Catholic clergyman, chemist, botanist; born in Hansbeke, Belgium. His family emigrated to the U.S.A. in 1880. Ordained in the Congregation of the Holy Cross (1903), he taught at his alma mater, Notre Dame, from 1904 on. Starting as a chemist, he discovered the reaction between acetylene and arsenic trichloride (1904), which others developed into lewisite, a poison gas. As a result, he almost quit chemistry, turning to botany until the end of World War I. After 1925, further chemical experiments led to a collaboration with DuPont that yielded neoprene, the first commercially successful synthetic rubber.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.