Sunday, January 23, 2011

Acronym in chemistry and business: BASF for Badische Anilin und Soda Fabrik

BASF is a German-language acronym for Badische Anilin und Soda Fabrik, a chemical company with its headquarters in Ludwigshafen, Germany. The word Fabrik means factory. The inner phrase Anilin und Soda refers to aniline and sodium carbonate, which were the critical start-up products in the 1860s: Aniline was manufactured in a plant in Mannheim and sodium carbonate at a soda and mineral acid factory at Ludwigshafen on the other bank of the Rhine [1]. The adjective Badische specifies the location: Baden, which was a Grand Duchy then, is today part of the twin-state Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany. Mannheim is—after Stuttgart— the second largest city of this state. Ludwighafen belongs to the state of Rhineland-Palatine. The company, however, is not confined to two German states: it is present worldwide and even became the largest chemical company through major acquisitions. The BASF was chosen as C&EN's 2010 company of the year [2].

Keynotes: chemical history, business strategies, recovery from recession

[1] Fred Aftalion: A History of the International Chemical Industry. Translated from the original French edition by Otto Theodor Bentley. University pf Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1991; page 41. (Note that this reference confuses the rivers Main and Rhine.)
[2] Alexander H. Tullo and C&EN Northeast News Bureau: Company Of The Year. Chemical & Engineering News January 3, 2011, 89 (1), page 15. Background: BASF: The Chemical Company?

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