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Encyclopedia > E. J. Corey

Elias James Corey (born July 12, 1928) is an American organic chemist. In 1990 he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his development of the theory and methodology of organic synthesis", specifically retrosynthetic analysis. He has developed several new synthetic reagents, most notably PCC (pyridinium chlorochromate), widely used for the oxidation of alcohols to aldehydes. His method for asymmetric reduction of ketones to chiral secondary alcohols using oxazaborolidine/borane[3] has become popular. His 1969 total synthesis of several prostaglandins is considered a classic[2],[3]. July 12 is the 193rd day (194th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 172 days remaining. ... 1928 was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Organic chemistry is the scientific study of the structure, properties, composition, reactions, and synthesis of organic compounds. ... 1990 is a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... List of Nobel Prize laureates in Chemistry from 1901 to the present day. ... Organic synthesis is the construction of organic molecules via chemical processes. ... Retrosynthetic analysis is a technique for solving problems in the planning of organic syntheses. ... Pyridinium chlorochromate (also known as Pyridinium chloride), Molecular Formula: C5H6NClCrO3, a reddish orange solid reagent, is used to oxidize primary or secondary alcohols to aldehydes or ketones. ... In general usage, alcohol (from Arabic al-khwl الكحول, or al-ghawl الغول) refers almost always to ethanol, also known as grain alcohol, and often to any beverage that contains ethanol (see alcoholic beverage). ... kjhfckjdsvsdv ... A ketone is either the functional group characterized by a carbonyl group linked to two other carbon atoms or a compound that contains this functional group. ... In chemistry, a molecule is chiral if is not superimposable on its mirror image regardless of how it is contorted. ... A borane is an inorganic chemical compound of boron and hydrogen. ... 1969 was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1969 calendar). ... A total synthesis is the complete chemical synthesis of complex organic molecules from simple, commercially available (petrochemical) precursors. ... A prostaglandin is any member of a group of lipid compounds that are derived from fatty acids and have important functions in the animal body. ...

At MIT, he earned both a bachelor's degree in 1948 and a Ph.D. in 1951. He is currently an emeritus professor of organic chemistry at Harvard University. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, is a research institution and university located in the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts along the Charles River and across from Bostons Back Bay district. ... A bachelors degree is usually an undergraduate academic degree awarded for a course or major that generally lasts three or four years. ... 1948 is a leap year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ... Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. ... 1951 was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ... Harvard University is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and a member of the Ivy League. ...

His son, David R. Corey, is a biochemist, which reportedly caused some family tension. Biochemistry is the chemistry of life. ...


Graduate student deaths

Corey has gained a certain infamy in the field of chemistry for having two graduate students commit suicide and explicitly blame their advisor (Corey) for doing so. Chemistry (in Greek: χημεία) is the science of matter and its interactions with energy and itself (see physics, biology). ... Suicide (from Latin sui caedere, to kill oneself) is the act of wilfully ending ones own life; it is sometimes a noun for one who has committed or attempted the act. ...

The second of the graduate students, Jason Altom, was a Ph.D. student at Harvard University who committed suicide by taking potassium cyanide in 1998, citing in his suicide note "abusive research supervisors" as one reason for taking his life. Harvard University is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and a member of the Ivy League. ... Potassium cyanide or KCN is the salt of potassium and hydrogen cyanide. ... 1998 is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year of the Ocean. ...

Altom's suicide highlighted the plight of many Ph.D. students in similar situations. His case prompted many universities to insist that Ph.D. students have an advisory committee in addition to a supervisor, to whom they might turn for support: James Anderson, who became Harvard Chemistry Department Chairman, stated that "Jason's death prompted an examination of the role the department should play in graduate students' lives". Anderson went on to promise that students will also have "confidential and seamless access" to psychological counselling services, paid for by the department. However, as of 2004, this access was cut back. Psychotherapy is a set of techniques believed to cure or to help solve behavioral and other psychological problems in humans. ...

Corey, speaking of the suicide note, states: "[T]hat letter doesn't make sense. At the end, Jason must have been delusional or irrational in the extreme." Corey also is on record as stating that he never questioned Mr. Altom's intellectual contributions. "I did my best to guide Jason as a mountain guide would to guide someone climbing a mountain. I did my best every step of the way," Corey states. "My conscience is clear. Everything Jason did came out of our partnership. We never had the slightest disagreement." A delusion is commonly defined as a false belief, and is used in everyday language to describe a belief that is either false, fanciful or derived from deception. ... In philosophy: Irrationality In music: Irrational rhythm In economics: Irrational exuberance In mathematics: Irrational number Proof that e is irrational Quadratic irrational List of integrals of irrational functions See also: rational This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...

Corey's office at Harvard University is infamous for the stoplight on the outside of the door: green means come in, and red means that even if the world is ending in a nuclear holocaust and Dr. Corey's only chance for survival is for you to burst in and drag him to a bomb shelter, you may still not enter. Nuclear war, or atomic war, is war in which nuclear weapons are used. ... A bunker is a defensive warfare fortification to protect oneself. ...

Woodward-Hoffmann rules

Recently when awarded the Priestley Medal, E. J. Corey has controversially claimed to have inspired Robert B. Woodward prior to the development of the Woodward-Hoffmann rules. This was vociferously rebutted by Roald Hoffmann in the journal Angewandte Chemie. The Priestley Medal is awarded by the American Chemical Society (ACS) for distiguished service in the field of chemistry. ... Robert Burns Woodward: On the blackboard is the structure of chlorophyll, one of many complex molecules that he synthesized (National Academy of Sciences Press) Robert Burns Woodward (April 10, 1917-July 8, 1979) was an American organic chemist, widely regarded as the preeminent organic chemist of the century. ... Roald Hoffmann (born July 18, 1937) is a Polish theoretical chemist. ...


  1. E. J. Corey, X-M. Cheng, The Logic of Chemical Synthesis, Wiley, New York, 1995, ISBN 0471115940.
  2. K. C. Nicolaou, E. J. Sorensen, Classics in Total Synthesis, VCH, New York, 1996, ISBN 3527292314.
  3. E. J. Corey, N. M. Weinshenker, T. K. Schaaf, W. Huber, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1969, 91, 5675.

External link

  • Elias James Corey



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