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Prize Motivation: PowerPoint Presentation
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Prize Motivation:

Prize Motivation:

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  1. Prize Motivation: “for his outstanding achievements in the art of organic synthesis” Comment: “the most prestigious synthetic chemist of the 20th century”

  2. Robert B. WoodwardThe Nobel Laureate, 1965

  3. Born: June 10, 1917 • Parents: Margaret Burns and Arthur • Wife: Irja Pullman (1938) – two daughters Eudoxia Muller (1946) – daughters and a son

  4. Early Life and Education • Attracted to chemistry • MIT (1933) - Expelled the next year • Readmission (1935) - Bachelor of Science (1936) - Doctor of Philosophy (1937)

  5. Positions, Associations andHonorary Degrees • Director of Woodward Research Institute at Basel, Switzerland • Doctor of Science - University of Cambridge - Israel Institute of Technology - Universite de Luvain

  6. Awards • Backeland Medal • Davy Medal • Pius XI Gold Medal • Lavoisier Medal • The Order of the Rising Sun, Second Class • Hanbury Memorial Medal

  7. Early Work • Application of ultraviolet spectroscopy in the structure elucidation of natural products • Synthesis of quinine (with William von Eggers Doering, 1944) - used to treat malaria - showed that organic synthesis could be made into a rational science, and that synthesis could be aided by well-established principles of reactivity and structure.

  8. Christopher Ingold and Robert Robinson (1930) - investigated the mechanisms of organic reactions, and had come up with empirical rules which could predict reactivity of organic molecules

  9. Organic Synthesis and the Nobel Prize • quinine, cholesterol, cortisone, strychnine, lysergic acid, reserpine, chlorophyll, cephalosporin, and colchicine • Infrared spectroscopy and chemical degradation • Won the Nobel prize in 1965 for his synthesis of organic molecules

  10. with Geoffrey Wilkinson - postulated a novel structure for ferrocene (1950s) • Wilkinson, together with Ernst Otto Fischer, won the Nobel Prize in 1973

  11. B12 Synthesis • Most complex natural product synthesized to date. • Collaboration with Albert Eschenmoser in Zurich • Began in 1960, published in 1973 • Included almost a hundred steps

  12. Woodward-Hoffman Rules • With Roald Hoffmann • Useful in elucidating the stereochemistry of the products of organic reactions.

  13. “That last year at Harvard was exciting. I was learning organic chemistry at a great pace, and I had gained access to a superior mind. R.B. Woodward possessed clarity of thought, powers of concentration, encyclopedic knowledge of chemistry, and an aesthetic sense unparalleled in modern chemistry. He taught me, and I have taught others.” Roald Hoffmann Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1981

  14. Woodward had an encyclopedic knowledge of chemistry, and an extraordinary memory for detail. Probably the quality that most set him apart from his peers was his remarkable ability to tie together disparate threads of knowledge from the chemical literature and bring them to bear on a chemical problem.