The Omnivore’s Dilemma


Michael Pollan

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Fritz Haber Character Analysis

The winner of a 1920 Nobel Prize, Haber invented the process of “fixing” nitrogen, or making free-floating nitrogen in the atmosphere usable to grow crops. This vastly increased agricultural productivity and allowed the world’s population to grow since 1900. It has been said that two-fifths of the population would not be alive today without Haber. This development also vastly increased mankind’s reliance on fossil fuel, which became a key component of the man-made fertilizer made possible by Haber. Unfortunately, Haber later collaborated with Hitler to develop chemical weapons for the Nazi war effort, and died in shame.
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Fritz Haber Character Timeline in The Omnivore’s Dilemma

The timeline below shows where the character Fritz Haber appears in The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: The Farm
Nature vs. Human Intervention Theme Icon
...dependence on naturally-occurring nitrogen, which is necessary to form the building blocks of life. Fritz Haber, who first developed the method of “fixing” nitrogen, or combining it with hydrogen to make... (full context)
Nature vs. Human Intervention Theme Icon
Haber’s method of fixing nitrogen relies on petroleum, which began to be pumped into cornfields in... (full context)