Famous 20th Century Organic Chemists

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Alexander Shulgin

Alexander Shulgin
Famous As: Rediscoverer of MDMA
Birthdate: June 17, 1925
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berkeley, California, United States
Died: June 2, 2014

A pioneer of psychedelic drug synthesis, Alexander Shulgin came to be known as The Godfather of Ecstasy, for reinventing the drug MDMA, or ecstasy, for medical use. The Harvard drop-out, who later studied psychiatry and pharmacology, would often experiment his newly invented drugs on himself, his wife, and his friends.

 2 John Cornforth

John Cornforth
Famous As: Nobel Prize Winner Chemist
Birthdate: September 7, 1917
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
Died: December 8, 2013

John Cornforth was an Australian-British chemist who became the first Nobel laureate from New South Wales when he was honored with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1975. Over the course of his career, Cornforth also won other prestigious awards like the Royal Medal, Copley Medal, and Centenary Medal. In 1975, he was adjudged the Australian of the Year.

 3 Asima Chatterjee

Asima Chatterjee
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: September 23, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kolkata, India
Died: November 22, 2006
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 4 Robert Burns Woodward

Robert Burns Woodward
Famous As: Organic Chemist
Birthdate: April 10, 1917
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died: July 8, 1979

 5 Bernard Feringa

Bernard Feringa
Famous As: Organic Chemist
Birthdate: May 18, 1951
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Barger-Compascuum, Netherlands

 6 Vladimir Prelog

Vladimir Prelog
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: July 23, 1906
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sarajevo
Died: January 7, 1998

Vladimir Prelog was a Croatian-Swiss organic chemist known for his research into the stereochemistry of organic molecules and reactions. He received his Sc.D under the guidance of prominent chemist and composer Emil Votoček. He had a successful academic career and received the 1975 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He was also a member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.  

 7 Herbert C. Brown

Herbert C. Brown
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: May 22, 1912
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England,
Died: December 19, 2004
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 8 Jean-Marie Lehn

Jean-Marie Lehn
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: September 30, 1939
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rosheim, France

French chemist Jean-Marie Lehn is noted for his work on synthesis of cryptands and his early innovation in supramolecular chemistry. Efforts of Lehn, Donald Cram and Charles Pedersen in discovering and determining applications of cryptands and crown ethers, which paved way for launch of the field of supramolecular chemistry, led them to receive the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1987.

 9 Charles J Pedersen

Charles J Pedersen
Famous As: Organic Chemist
Birthdate: October 3, 1904
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Busan, South Korea
Died: October 26, 1989

 10 William Lipscomb

William Lipscomb
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: December 9, 1919
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Died: April 14, 2011

 11 Donald J. Cram

Donald J. Cram
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: April 22, 1919
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chester, Vermont
Died: June 17, 2001

 12 Kurt Alder

Kurt Alder
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: July 10, 1902
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Königshütte (Chorzów), Silesia
Died: June 20, 1958

Kurt Alder was a German chemist whose work on the Diels-Alder reaction, which is named after him and his teacher Diels, earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1950. Alder is also remembered for working with Ferdinand Münz, the inventor of EDTA. Over the course of his career, Kurt Alder won many prestigious awards and honorary degrees.

 13 Derek Barton

Derek Barton
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: September 8, 1918
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gravesend, Kent, England
Died: March 16, 1998

 14 Christopher Kelk Ingold

Christopher Kelk Ingold
Famous As: Organic chemist, Educator
Birthdate: October 28, 1893
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: December 8, 1970

 15 Jonathan Clayden

Jonathan Clayden
Famous As: Educator, Chemist
Birthdate: February 6, 1968
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kampala, Uganda

 16 Adolf Windaus

Adolf Windaus
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: December 25, 1876
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: June 9, 1959

 17 Carl Shipp Marvel

Carl Shipp Marvel
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: September 11, 1894
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Waynesville, Illinois, United States
Died: January 4, 1988

 18 Alf Howard

Alf Howard
Famous As: Explorer, Scientist
Birthdate: April 30, 1906
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Camberwell, Australia
Died: July 4, 2010

 19 Alfred P. Wolf

Alfred P. Wolf
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: February 13, 1923
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: December 17, 1998