National Historic Chemical Landmarks

Chemists and Chemistry that Transformed Our Lives

Welcome to the website of the American Chemical Society’s National Historic Chemical Landmarks program. Under this program, ACS grants Landmark status to seminal achievements in the history of the chemical sciences and provides a record of their contributions to chemistry and society in the U.S.

Chemists and chemistry have transformed our lives, from advancing medicine and industry to creating new products such as penicillin, plastics and much more. This site tells their stories.

Find a Landmark

Landmark Directory

  • Read about major chemistry advances that relate to everyday life.
  • Learn about the cultural and scientific context for these achievements.
  • See historic photos related to these developments and the people behind them.

Browse the collection of achievements, which include the discovery of penicillin, the first African-American Ph.D. in chemistry, the development of Scotch tape, and more. 

In Spanish: Lugares Emblemáticos en la Historia de la Química
In Mandarin: 里程碑中文版
In Arabic: عربي



Educational Resources

Landmark Lesson Plans

  • Ready-to-go lessons, easily implemented by high school teachers.
  • Inquiry-based activities to supplement chemistry and history courses.
  • Student activities, reading material and videos based on Landmark subjects.

View the collection on AACT’s website, where you will find lessons about the discovery of fullerenes, exploration of Mars, climate change, and more.  

photo of St. Elmo Brady as a youth
St. Elmo Brady was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry.
Courtesy of University of Illinois Archives
artist's rendition of Mariner 6 or 7 spacecraft near Mars
Infrared spectrometers on the Mariner spacecraft scanned the atmospheric and surface chemistry of Mars.