Throughout 2014 there have been various emotional and poignant days recording key events in the twentieth century’s two world wars.
As chemical engineers, I’m sure some of us look at these historical events in contrasting ways, especially when we consider our professional ‘forefathers’ were the architects of weapons production on a mass scale.
Conversely, the mass use of antibiotics considerably reduced the death toll in combat during World War Two.
That’s the dichotomy of chemical engineers – our inventiveness has the ability for destruction and immeasurable good.
A few weeks ago I blogged about chemical engineers and their role in the production of antibiotics to save lives during the D-Day landings in 1944. Antibiotics are now part of a standard issue battlefield medical first aid kit to help save lives during what is described as a ‘platinum 10 minutes’.
Sadly, there are still around 40 conflicts in the world today. And as we’ve seen in the Middle East and Syria, chemical weapons are still being produced and used in some of those conflicts.