U.S. ARMY CHEMICAL CORPS
Hall of Fame
Dr. Irving Langmuir
Dr. Irving Langmuir was born January 31st, in Brooklyn, New York. He received his Bachelor of Science from Columbia University in Metallurgical Engineering and his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Gottingen, Germany.
Dr. Langmuir worked for General Electric Company for 41 years, staying active as a consultant after his retirement. He was a physical chemist whose studies of molecular films on solid and liquid surfaces opened new fields in colloid research and biochemistry. During WWI, he helped to develop listening devices for detecting submarines.
In 1932, Dr. Langmuir would receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for his discoveries and investigations in surface chemistry.” In 1940, The National Defense Research Committee established a project on smokes and filters. He worked on this project by studying the size and color of particles in artificial fogs to determine maximum screening ability. He learned that the effect of a smoke screen on the eye was partly physiological, party optical and partly psychological. This led to the development of the M1 Mechanical Smoke Generator which saw extensive use during the Anzio Campaign to screen U.S. troops from hostile artillery fire.
After the war, Dr. Langmuir worked on weather control and icing problems of airplanes. His work at General Electric included improved vacuum techniques, gas filled lamps, the atomic hydrogen torch and many other discoveries.
Dr. Langmuir passed away on August 16th, 1957.