Famous 20th Century Organic Chemists

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 1 
Alexander Shulgin
(Rediscoverer of MDMA)
Alexander Shulgin
4
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 
Robert Burns Woodward
(The Most Preeminent Synthetic Organic Chemist of the 20th Century)
Robert Burns Woodward
5
Birthdate: April 10, 1917
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died: July 8, 1979

Robert Burns Woodward was an American organic chemist best remembered for winning the 1965 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Regarded as the most preeminent synthetic organic chemist of the 20th century, Woodward is also remembered for his contributions to organic synthesis. Robert Burns Woodward was also the recipient of the Copley Medal, National Medal of Science, and William H. Nichols Medal.

 3 
Asima Chatterjee
0
Birthdate: September 23, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kolkata, India
Died: November 22, 2006
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 4 
Bernard Feringa
(Organic Chemist)
Bernard Feringa
3
Birthdate: May 18, 1951
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Barger-Compascuum, Netherlands
 5 
Jean-Marie Lehn
2
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.

 6 
Charles J Pedersen
(Organic Chemist Best Known for Describing Methods of Synthesizing Crown Ethers)
Charles J Pedersen
2
Birthdate: October 3, 1904
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Busan, South Korea
Died: October 26, 1989

Charles J. Pedersen was an American organic chemist. He is best remembered for winning the 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He is one of only two Nobel Prize laureates born in Korea. Charles Pedersen is also remembered for spending his entire 42-year career at DuPont, where he gained inspiration from many famous chemists like Roy J. Plunkett and Julian Hill.

 7 
Vladimir Prelog
(Organic Chemist Who Won Nobel Prize for His Research into the Stereochemistry of Organic Molecules and Reactions)
Vladimir Prelog
0
Birthdate: July 23, 1906
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
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.  

 8 
Donald J. Cram
(One of the Founders of 'Host-Guest Chemistry')
Donald J. Cram
2
Birthdate: April 22, 1919
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chester, Vermont
Died: June 17, 2001

Donald J. Cram was an American chemist who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1987. He shared the award with Charles J. Pedersen and Jean-Marie Lehn and the trio was also responsible for founding the field of host–guest chemistry. Donald J. Cram was also honored with other prestigious awards including the National Medal of Science.

 9 
Kurt Alder
(Chemist)
Kurt Alder
1
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.

 10 
Derek Barton
(British Organic Chemist and One of the Recipients of 1969 Nobel Prize in Chemistry)
Derek Barton
2
Birthdate: September 8, 1918
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gravesend, United Kingdom
Died: March 16, 1998

Derek Barton was a British organic chemist best remembered for winning the 1969 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He won the prize alongside Odd Hassel for their contributions to the development of a concept called conformation and its applications in chemistry. Derek Barton also won several other prestigious awards, including the Corday-Morgan Prize, Davy Medal, Ernest Guenther Award, and Copley Medal. 

 11 
Robert Robinson
(British Organic Chemist Who Received Nobel Prize for His Research on Anthocyanins and Alkaloids)
Robert Robinson
2
Birthdate: September 13, 1886
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England
Died: February 8, 1975

Robert Robinson was a British organic chemist best remembered for winning the 1947 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his research on anthocyanins and alkaloids. Robinson is credited with inventing the symbol for benzene; discovering the molecular structures of penicillin and morphine; founding the journal Tetrahedron. Robert Robinson was also the recipient of the Davy Medal, Royal Medal, and Copley Medal.

 12 
Christopher Kelk Ingold
(British Chemist Known for His Pioneering Work on the Electronic Structure and Reaction Mechanisms of Organic Compounds)
Christopher Kelk Ingold
0
Birthdate: October 28, 1893
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: December 8, 1970

Christopher Kelk Ingold was a British chemist. He is best remembered for his pioneering work on the electronic structure and reaction mechanisms of organic compounds, which was responsible for the institution of concepts like electrophile, inductive, nucleophile, and resonance effects into mainstream chemistry. Christopher Kelk Ingold is counted among the pioneers of physical organic chemistry.

 13 
Jonathan Clayden
(British Chemist and Educator)
Jonathan Clayden
0
Birthdate: February 6, 1968
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kampala, Uganda

Jonathan Clayden is a British chemist and educator. He is best known for his association with the University of Bristol, where he is currently working as a professor of organic chemistry. From 2005 to 2011, Jonathan Clayden served as the editor-in-chief of the Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry.

 14 
Carl Shipp Marvel
(American Chemist Who is Known for His Work in Polymer Chemistry)
Carl Shipp Marvel
0
Birthdate: September 11, 1894
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Waynesville, Illinois, United States
Died: January 4, 1988

Carl Shipp Marvel was an American chemist best remembered for his work in polymer chemistry. He played an important role in the Second World War, during which he made significant contributions to US synthetic rubber program. Carl Shipp Marvel is also credited with developing temperature-resistant polymers called polybenzimidazoles, which have applications in the aerospace industry.

 15 
Alf Howard
(Australian Educator, Scientist, and Explorer)
Alf Howard
4
Birthdate: April 30, 1906
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Camberwell, Australia
Died: July 4, 2010

Alf Howard was an Australian educator, scientist, and explorer. He is best remembered for his expedition to Antarctica on board the RRS Discovery; he served as the hydrologist and chemist aboard the RRS Discovery. At the time of his death in 2010, Alf Howard was the lone surviving member of the expedition.

 16 
Alfred P. Wolf
(American Nuclear and Organic Chemist Whose Played an Important Role in the Evolution of 'Positron Emission Tomography')
Alfred P. Wolf
0
Birthdate: February 13, 1923
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: December 17, 1998

Alfred P. Wolf was an American organic and nuclear chemist. His discoveries played an important role in the evolution of positron emission tomography (PET). Wolf is also remembered for making significant contributions to the field of organic radiochemistry. Alfred P. Wolf was honored with several prestigious awards, such as the Melvin Calvin Award and American Chemical Society's Nuclear Chemistry Award.