In 1905, in France, chemist Jacques Brandenberger spilled wine on a tablecloth and wished for a material that could be wiped clean with a wet cloth. Swiss-born Brandenberger spent the next several years perfecting a transparent, moisture-repellent film he named cellophane.
In 1944 Henry Morgenthau, Jr., President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s secretary of the Treasury, had a vision. He saw postwar Germany as a vast farm—an agrarian state in which all heavy industry would be strictly forbidden and all advanced technologies effectively banished.
Wilhelm Ostwald, winner of the 1909 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on catalysis and an accomplished “Sunday painter,” conducted extensive research into the nature of color. His resulting aesthetic provided a stark contrast to the emerging artistic movements of the early 20th century.