Famous American Organic Chemists

Organic chemistry is a sub-discipline of chemistry that deals with the study of the structure, properties and reactions of organic compounds and materials. Chemists in the field are involved with the study of the physical and chemical properties, their compositions and their chemical reactivity. Over the years, organic chemistry has emerged as one of the top subdivisions of chemistry with more and more scientists dedicating their life and work to this genre of the subject. It has found application in various field including food additives, pharmaceuticals, drugs, paint, plastics, explosives, petrochemicals and so on. The most important contribution by chemists in the field has been in medicine. Organic chemists play an important role in developing new medicines and antidotes for various diseases. America has given the world some of the most renowned organic chemists who through their research, investigation and development have laid a strong foundation for the subject, be it Wallace Carothers’ nylon that caused the 20th century industrial revolution or Robert Burns Woodward Nobel prize winning work on complex natural products, Charles Pederson and Donald Cram’s work on structure specific interactions of high selectivity or Herbert Brown’s contribution in organoboron or organoborane chemistry. Follow this section to find out in detail about the life, scientific career and works of famous American organic chemists.
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Alexander Shulgin
(Rediscoverer of MDMA)
Alexander Shulgin
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.

Robert Burns Woodward
(The Most Preeminent Synthetic Organic Chemist of the 20th Century)
Robert Burns Woodward
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.

Charles J Pedersen
(Organic Chemist Best Known for Describing Methods of Synthesizing Crown Ethers)
Charles J Pedersen
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.

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Donald J. Cram
(One of the Founders of 'Host-Guest Chemistry')
Donald J. Cram
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.

Alfred P. Wolf
(American Nuclear and Organic Chemist Whose Played an Important Role in the Evolution of 'Positron Emission Tomography')
Alfred P. Wolf
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.