Elias James Corey life and biography

Elias James Corey picture, image, poster

Elias James Corey biography

Date of birth : 1928-07-12
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Methuen, Massachusetts, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2011-09-20
Credited as : chemist, Nobel Prize for Chemistry,

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American chemist Elias James Corey won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1990, for advancing and formalizing the concept of "retrosynthetic analysis", a systematic technique of chemical synthesis which efficiently transforms a target molecule into simpler precursor structures. In work that began in earnest in 1957 and continued through the early 1970s, he developed more than one hundred synthetic reactions and transformations through his own work, and was among the first chemists to use computer analysis to design chemical syntheses. The practical applications of his work include the development of numerous medicinal drugs, including prostaglandins and ginkgolide B.

Regarded by many as one of the greatest living chemists, he has developed numerous synthetic reagents, methodologies, and has advanced the science of organic synthesis considerably.

He entered MIT in 1945. At MIT, he earned both a bachelor's degree in 1948 and a Ph.D. at age 22 in 1951. Both degrees were in chemistry. Immediately thereafter, he joined the faculty of University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where he became a Full Professor of Chemistry in 1956 at the age of 27. In 1959, he moved to Harvard University, where he is currently an emeritus professor of organic chemistry with an active Corey Group research program. He focuses on organic chemistry because of "its intrinsic beauty and its great relevance to human health". He has been an advisor to Pfizer for more than 50 years.


Guggenheim Fellowship 1957
ACS Linus Pauling Medal 1973
Benjamin Franklin Medal 1978 (by the Franklin Institute)
Wolf Prize in Chemistry 1986
RSC Robert Robinson Medal 1988
Japan Prize 1989
Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1990
Priestley Medal 2004
American Academy of Arts and Sciences 1960-68
American Association for the Advancement of Science 1966
Chemical & Engineering News Advisory Board
Federation of American Scientists Board of Sponsors
Welch Foundation Scientific Advisory Board
Alpha Chi Sigma Chemistry Fraternity

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