Sarin is a toxic nerve agent of the organophosphate variety, also known GB or Zarin. It was first developed in Germany in 1938 and named for its four discoverers: Schrader, Ambros, Rüdriger, and van der Linde. The German government then created a full-scale Sarin synthesis plant in Falkenhagen, south of Berlin. It is estimated that around 500 kilograms of Sarin were created for Nazi use. The United States began synthesizing Sarin in 1950 and ceased production in 1956.

Sarin is an inhibitor of esterase enzymes, most importantly, acetylcholinesterase. When acetylcholinesterase is inhibited, large amounts of acetylcholine block nerve signal transmission. Symptoms upon exposure to lethal dosages of sarin are loss of muscle control, slurring of speech, loss of reflexes, convulsions, coma, and respiratory failure. Finally, death inevitably ensues. It is an unpleasant death, to say the least.

Sarin is most famous for its use in an attack on the Tokyo subway system by Aum Shinrikyo, a Japanese doomsday cult on March 20, 1995. The attack was carried at out Kasumigaseki station, located quite close to the Japanese government offices. 12 people were killed and 5,500 people were injured. It was the first documented terrorist use of nerve agents. The Iraqi government was also thought to have been producing Sarin gas before and during the Gulf War.

Sarin is also known as methylphosphonofluoridic acid and (1-methylethyl) ester. Its molecular formula is C4H10FO2P and has a formula weight of 140.09. Its melting point is -57°C and its boiling point is 147°C. Sarin has a vapor pressure of 1.48 mm Hg at room temperature (20°C,68°F) and has a density of 1.11 grams/cubic cm.

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