Development of Raney nickel catalyst earns Historic Chemical Landmark designation

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2022 — The American Chemical Society (ACS) will honor the development of Raney® nickel with a National Historic Chemical Landmark designation in a ceremony at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on April 7, 2022.

Murray Raney (1885-1966) invented the catalyst now known as Raney nickel in 1926 while working out of his home laboratory near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Raney didn’t attend high school, but after working for a few years, he realized he wanted more education and enrolled at the University of Kentucky. He graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering.

Originally, Raney nickel was used to turn liquid vegetable oils into solid shortening, but by 1950 it had become one of the most widely utilized catalysts in the world. Today, Raney nickel produced by W. R. Grace & Co. is used to convert building-block chemicals into pharmaceuticals, food ingredients, agrochemicals, personal care products, fibers, fragrances and many other products that are an integral part of modern daily life.

ACS established the National Historic Chemical Landmarks program in 1992 to recognize seminal events in the history of chemistry and to increase awareness of the contributions of chemistry to society. Past landmarks include the discovery and production of penicillin, the invention of synthetic plastics and the works of such notable scientific figures as educator George Washington Carver and environmentalist Rachel Carson. For more information, visit

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS’ mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and all its people. The Society is a global leader in promoting excellence in science education and providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple research solutions, peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News. ACS journals are among the most cited, most trusted and most read within the scientific literature; however, ACS itself does not conduct chemical research. As a leader in scientific information solutions, its CAS division partners with global innovators to accelerate breakthroughs by curating, connecting and analyzing the world’s scientific knowledge. ACS’ main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

To automatically receive press releases from the American Chemical Society, contact


Note: ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies.

Media Contact

ACS Newsroom