Bosch was assigned to the project by his bosses, who bought rights to the invention of Fritz Haber. Haber was a Professor at Karlsruhe, when he developed a high pressure process to fix nitrogen using a ruthinium catalyst in 1907.
Haber had a number of collaborators including Le Rossignol for the pressure equipment, Nerst for the thermodynamics, and Ostwald for prior art in catalyst selection.
The point here is that Haber had a network, and Haber and his bosses at BASF were plugged into it. Networks and the interfaces between organizations continue to be important in transmitting ideas. The isolated genius is not a very important phenomenon in science.
|Didn't Fritz Haber have cool glasses? Oh, that is|
his lab set up in the hood.
|A Bosch Reactor|