Zelinsky, who created a whole scholar school, is rightfully considered the the founding father of oil chemistry and organic catalysis. Besides, he dealt with chemistry of amino acids. However, the academician is best remembered for being the savior of mankind, as his invention saved many lives both during the war and times of peace. The fact is that Nikolay Zelinsky invented the gas mask. By the biting irony of fate, the scientist had a firsthand knowledge as to the action of toxic gas. Back in 1885, he was exposed to dichloroethyl sulfide, the same gas that the Germans would later use during the Battle of Ypres. Thus, Zelinsky was the first victim of mustard gas or yperite having got burned on the hands and body. The professor of chemistry realized earlier than other scientists that it makes no sense inventing a separate antidote for each gas. Thus, he arrived at the idea of using charcoal as universal absorber of the poison. The box with activated (for better absorption) charcoal was connected to a rubber helmet, invented by Russian engineer Eduard Kummant. By the middle of 1916, the mass production of gasmasks was underway, and the army received 11 million units by the end of the war. The scientist did not patent his invention. Being a Russian nobleman, he considered it improper to make money on human troubles. Russia assigned the right for producing gas-masks to the allies, yet retained the priority forever. Lenin Prize, three Stalin Prizes, title of the Hero of Socialist Labor, Order of Lenin, rank of academician – these are the awards that the scientist received in his lifetime. After his death, the streets in Moscow and Kishinev, as well as other Russian cities were named after him. Besides, commemorative plaques were installed in Moscow and Tiraspol, the city where the scientist was born. The mankind has not yet invented a better method of being grateful.
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