History of science is devoted to the history of science, medicine and technology from earliest times to the present day. Histories of science were originally written by practicing and retired scientists, starting primarily with William Whewell, as a way to communicate the virtues of science to the public.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ozone layer in history

The ozone layer forms a thin shield in the stratosphere, approximately 20-40 km above the earth’s surface, protecting life below the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.

In 1840, Swiss chemist Christian Schöenbein identifies the gas as a component of the lower atmosphere and named it as ‘ozone’. The word is from Greek word azein, ‘to smell’.  This meaning comes from ozone at the ground level, which gives off a pungent, acrid odor.

He presented a letter entitled ‘Research on the Nature of the odor in certain chemical reactions was presented to the Academies des Sciences in Paris.’

In 1845, Auguste de la Rive and Jean-Charles de Marignac suggest ozone is a form of oxygen. It was confirmed by Thomas Andrews in 1856.

In 1924, Gordon M B Dobson invented first dynamic measurements, a new spectrophotometer to measure the amount of ozone in the atmosphere.

He discovered that there were day-to-day fluctuations in the ozone amount over Oxford, England and that there was a regular seasonal variation.

He correctly concluded that stratospheric winds must play an important role in transporting ozone around the globe.

In 1930, an English scientist named Sydney Chapman attempted to explain how ozone was formed and destroyed in the atmosphere.

He postulated a simple three-step mechanism involving production of atomic oxygen via sunlight, followed by reaction of atomic oxygen with oxygen molecules to produce ozone.
Ozone layer in history

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