Benjamin Johnson

Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow (Nov 2019-Jun 2021)


Benjamin Johnson received a bachelor of physics from the George Washington University in Washington, DC and his Diplom and PhD in physics from the Technische Universität Berlin in 2010. His doctoral research was on the electronic properties for semiconductor heterojunctions in thin-layer solar cells studied with X-ray spectroscopic methods. Between 2011 and 2015 he continued this research at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society (FHI), now with catalytic materials, mainly iridium and platinum oxides, for the generation of alternative fuels (hydrogen). In 2015 Benjamin began a joint project between FHI and the MPIWG on the scientific development of ammonia synthesis, discovered by Fritz Haber and others between 1903 and 1908. Known today as the Haber-Bosch process, it enabled the mass production of fertilizer and revolutionized the way we feed the Earth’s population.

The resulting book, entitled Origins of Scientific Discovery: An Exploration Illustrated with the Case Study of Ammonia Synthesis and scheduled to be published in 2020, also emphasizes the transdisciplinary communication needed to propel knowledge throughout the web of basic research and, when appropriate, into industry.

Benjamin is also a member of the Anthropocene Working Group. Inkeeping with the group’s transdisciplinary approach, he maintains close ties with the scientists at FHI and other research institutes and is active in science outreach and communication on both the German and EU levels.


IV. Knowledge in and of the Anthropocene


Material Practices: Earth in the Making


No projects were found for this scholar.

Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

History of Ammonia Synthesis

TU Berlin

News & Press

Jürgen Renn, Benjamin Johnson, & Benjamin Steininger in Naturwissenschaftliche Rundschau on ammonia synthesis.


Jürgen Renn, Benjamin Johnson, and Benjamin Steininger on ammonia synthesiss