Great piece on NPR this morning. German Fritz Haber invented a way to create fertilizer using nitrogen, which makes for much more productive farming. This was huge. Bigger, some argue, than the invention of electricity. But he had a strange, darker side. He was a Jew who converted to Christianity, and he was instrumental in the first use of poison gas during World War I. He was actually there to observe the first time the Germans deployed it. In one of those bizarre, ironic twists that only history can hand out, Haber ended up being run out of his job as World War II approached. Although he could have stuck around on the strength of his WWI service, he refused to fire Jews who worked for him, and resigned instead. Apparently, some of the gas technology he developed for Germany later was used to murder Jews in the concentration camps. He didn’t live to see it, but it is a hell of a story, and NPR did its usual outstanding job reporting it.