Fritz Haber

photo of Fritz Haber
photo of Fritz Haber
A number of German-language sources credit the first synthesis of MDMA (Ecstasy) to an undergraduate German chemist, Fritz Haber (1868-1934). The future Nobel laureate reportedly synthesized 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine ("Ecstasy") in 1891, four years after Edeleano's first synthesis of amphetamine. Haber was studying organic chemistry at the Charlottenburg Technische Hochschule in Berlin. However, the synthesis does not appear anywhere in Haber's doctoral dissertation Ueber einige Derivate des Piperonals (Berlin G. Schade, 1891). So the case remains unproven. Even if Haber did synthesize MDMA, the young researcher never sampled his creation. For if Haber had tried a true hugdrug, then he'd have been most unlikely to pioneer the use of poison-gas as a weapon of war.


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