Julius Nieuwland the inventor of synthetic rubber

The type of synthetic rubber you sometimes see in mouse pads, laptop covers, wetsuits, camera cases masks and many other materials was in fact a Belgian invention. The creation of neoprene, that is what the synthetic rubber is called, was influenced by Belgian chemist and priest Reverent Julius Nieuwland and his research on acetylene chemistry. Nieuwland was born of Flemish parents in Hansbeke, Belgium and immigrated as a young boy with his family to South Bend, Indiana. Later he taught botany for a number of years at the Notre Dame university. In 1918 he became a professor of organic chemistry.

In 1920, Nieuwland produced a type of jelly that formed into an elastic compound similar to natural rubber. Neoprene has been considered superior to rubber in terms of its resistance to sunlight, abrasion, and temperature changes. 

Nieuwland mentioned his revolutionary finding during a lecture in New York, attended by a scientist from the American chemical company DuPont, 'Wallace Carothers' The DuPont scientists, with the priest’s help, create the modern-day neoprene rubber which is used in a wide range of materials today.

The Belgian who designed the common sides of the euro coins

The designer of the Euro coins is 'Luc Luycx', a computer engineer and medallist living in town of Dendermonde. He works for the Royal Mint of Belgium. He designed the coins in 1996 while participating in a contest organized by the European Union to design a new and modern looking Euro coin.

'Luc Luycx's' design was the chosen winner of the competition. If you look very closely you can spot his connected initials 'LL' on all numerical sides of euro coins.

Nearly 80 percent of the world's billiard balls are made in Belgium

Belgium is the world's leading producer and exporter of billiard and snooker balls. The company Saluc, established in 1923, is located in Callenelle, Péruwelz in the Belgian province of Hainaut. 

Around 1960, the company started to specialize in billiard balls. The most widely used material is phenolic resin. SA Saluc also produces other, more industrial balls for all kinds of purposes. Chances are that the ball inside your computer mouse is also made by Saluc.  The company is active in more than 85 countries, it also makes various types of bowling balls. Saluc has its own chemical plant to make the phenolic resin formula, which give Aramith balls their characteristic high-gloss, rock-hard finish.