Organic Chemists

Organic chemists analyze the chemical properties and structure of organic compounds and organic materials. Organic compounds are structurally diverse compounds that contain carbon atoms. As a field of chemistry, organic chemistry involves the study of the physical as well as the chemical properties of organic compounds through spectroscopy and other methods to determine the chemical composition and constitution of such materials. Organic chemists work in a number of fields as organic compounds are present in almost all materials known to mankind such as food additives, paints, drugs, petrochemicals, plastics, explosives, etc. They also work in research and hold teaching jobs in academics. Researchers in this field basically work in the laboratory where they analyze compounds and their reactivity, and develop new compounds with the help of computers with sophisticated modeling and simulation software. Organic chemists form the foundation of the pharmaceutical industry and play a significant role in the development of new medicines to treat various diseases. They facilitate the rise in standards of living as their research is instrumental for the development of practically all industries in the business world. What follows is a collection of the biographies, timelines, trivia and other information about the professional and personal lives of some of the world’s most famous 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 Dmitri Mendeleev

Dmitri Mendeleev.
4
Famous As: Inventor of Periodic Table
Birthdate: February 8, 1834
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tobolsk
Died: February 2, 1907
Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev created the Periodic Law and his version of the Periodic Table of Elements that revolutionized the field of chemistry. His table was independent of German chemist Julius Lothar Meyer’s version of the table. Mendeleev also assisted in the development of the first oil refinery in Russia.

 2 Aleksandr Borodin

Aleksandr Borodin.
4
Famous As: Composer, Chemist
Birthdate: November 12, 1833
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg
Died: February 27, 1887

Aleksandr Borodin was a Russian musical composer. He was one of the popular 19th-century group of musicians known as The Five, who worked together to create a national style of classical music. A chemist and doctor by profession, Borodin also made important contributions to organic chemistry. His best known work as a chemist is his work pertaining to organic synthesis.

 3 Chaim Weizmann

Chaim Weizmann.
4
Famous As: Former President of Israel
Birthdate: November 27, 1874
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Motal
Died: November 9, 1952

Born in Russia, biochemist Chaim Weizmann was a World Zionist Organization leader and later also became the first president of Israel. He had a major role in the Balfour Declaration. Remembered for his research on industrial fermentation, gasoline, and rubber, he also helped establish the Weizmann Institute.

 4 John Cornforth

John Cornforth.
4
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.

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 5 Robert Burns Woodward

Robert Burns Woodward.
3
Famous As: Organic Chemist
Birthdate: April 10, 1917
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died: July 8, 1979

 6 Wallace Carothers

Wallace Carothers.
3
Famous As: Inventor of Neoprene & Nylon
Birthdate: April 27, 1896
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Burlington, Iowa, United States
Died: April 29, 1937
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 7 Adolf von Baeyer

Adolf von Baeyer.
3
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: October 31, 1835
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Berlin
Died: August 20, 1917

Adolf von Baeyer was a German chemist who is best known for synthesizing indigo. Interested in science from a young age,  he studied chemistry at the University of Heidelberg, where his mentor was the prominent organic chemist August Kekulé. He went on to have a successful career and received the 1905 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

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 8 Bernard Feringa

Bernard Feringa
3
Famous As: Organic Chemist
Birthdate: May 18, 1951
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Barger-Compascuum, Netherlands
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 9 Hans Fischer

Hans Fischer.
3
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: July 27, 1881
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Höchst on Main, Germany
Died: March 31, 1945

Hans Fischer was a German organic chemist best known for his research into the constitution of haemin and chlorophyll, for which he was awarded the 1930 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. During the early years of his career, he worked at the First Berlin Chemical Institute under Emil Fischer. He later pursued an academic career. 

 10 Hermann Staudinger

Hermann Staudinger.
3
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: March 23, 1881
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Worms, Grand Duchy of Hesse, German Empire
Died: September 8, 1965

Hermann Staudinger was a German organic chemist whose demonstration of the existence of polymers earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1953. He also played a key role in the development of pyrethroid insecticides as he was able to explain clearly the molecular structures of pyrethrin I and pyrethrin II. Hermann Staudinger is also credited with discovering ketenes. 

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 11 Vladimir Prelog

Vladimir Prelog.
3
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.  

 12 Victor Grignard

Victor Grignard.
3
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: May 6, 1871
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cherbourg-Octeville, France
Died: December 13, 1935

Victor Grignard was a French chemist whose discovery of the Grignard Reagent earned him the prestigious Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1912. Subsequently, he was honored with a medal of the Legion of Honour, the highest French order of merit. As a chemist, he also played an important role during the First World War.

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 13 Jean-Marie Lehn

Jean-Marie Lehn.
2
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.

 14 Herbert C. Brown

Herbert C. Brown.
3
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: May 22, 1912
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England,
Died: December 19, 2004
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 15 Charles J Pedersen

Charles J Pedersen.
2
Famous As: Organic Chemist
Birthdate: October 3, 1904
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Busan, South Korea
Died: October 26, 1989

 16 Robert Robinson

Robert Robinson.
2
Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: September 13, 1886
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England
Died: February 8, 1975

 17 Donald J. Cram

Donald J. Cram.
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: April 22, 1919
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chester, Vermont
Died: June 17, 2001

 18 William Lipscomb

William Lipscomb.
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: December 9, 1919
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Died: April 14, 2011

 19 Hermann Emil Fischer

Hermann Emil Fischer.
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: October 9, 1852
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Euskirchen
Died: July 15, 1919

Hermann Emil Fischer was a German chemist who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1902. He is credited with discovering the Fischer esterification, which is named in his honor. He is also credited with developing the Fischer projection, which was originally used for the depiction of carbohydrates. Several chemical reactions and concepts like Fischer glycosidation are named after him.

 20 Paul Sabatier

Paul Sabatier.
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: November 5, 1854
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Carcassonne, France
Died: August 14, 1941

Paul Sabatier was a French chemist known for his work improving the hydrogenation of organic species in the presence of metals. Along with Victor Grignard, he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1912. He is also remembered for developing what is now known as the Sabatier process and the Sabatier principle of catalysis. 

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 21 Kurt Alder

Kurt Alder.
1
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.

 22 Derek Barton

Derek Barton.
2
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: September 8, 1918
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gravesend, Kent, England
Died: March 16, 1998

 23 Georg Wittig

Georg Wittig.
1
Famous As: Organic Chemist
Birthdate: June 16, 1897
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: August 26, 1987

 24 Tadeusz Reichstein

Tadeusz Reichstein.
1
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: July 20, 1897
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Włocławek, Poland
Died: August 1, 1996
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 25 Norman Haworth

Norman Haworth.
1
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: March 19, 1883
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chorley, Lancashire, England
Died: March 19, 1950

 26 Otto Diels

Otto Diels.
1
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: January 23, 1876
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hamburg, German Empire
Died: March 7, 1954
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 27 Heinrich Otto Wieland

Heinrich Otto Wieland.
1
Famous As: Father of Biochemistry
Birthdate: June 4, 1877
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pforzheim
Died: August 5, 1957

Heinrich Otto Wieland was a German chemist known for his research into bile acids, for which he won the 1927 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He studied under prominent chemist and professor Johannes Thiele at the University of Munich. He had a brilliant academic career and worked actively to protect Jewish students after the passage of the Nuremberg Laws.

 28 Otto Wallach

Otto Wallach.
1
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: March 27, 1847
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Königsberg
Died: February 26, 1931
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 29 Paul Karrer

Paul Karrer.
1
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: April 21, 1889
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Moscow
Died: June 18, 1971

 30 Adolf Windaus

Adolf Windaus
1
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: December 25, 1876
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: June 9, 1959
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 31 William Christopher Zeise

William Christopher Zeise.
0
Famous As: Organic Chemist
Birthdate: October 15, 1789
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Slagelse, Denmark
Died: November 12, 1847

 32 Carl Shipp Marvel

Carl Shipp Marvel
0
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: September 11, 1894
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Waynesville, Illinois, United States
Died: January 4, 1988
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 33 Alfred P. Wolf

Alfred P. Wolf
0
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: February 13, 1923
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: December 17, 1998

 34 Christopher Kelk Ingold

Christopher Kelk Ingold
0
Famous As: Organic chemist, Educator
Birthdate: October 28, 1893
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Died: December 8, 1970

 35 Asima Chatterjee

Asima Chatterjee
0
Famous As: Chemist
Birthdate: September 23, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kolkata, India
Died: November 22, 2006

 36 Jonathan Clayden

Jonathan Clayden
0
Famous As: Educator, Chemist
Birthdate: February 6, 1968
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kampala, Uganda

 37 Alf Howard

Alf Howard
0
Famous As: Explorer, Scientist
Birthdate: April 30, 1906
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Camberwell, Australia
Died: July 4, 2010
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