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Paul S. Anderson

Paul S. Anderson

Detail of Image, CHF Collections, Photograph by Douglas Lockard

  • Born: February 3, 1938, Concord, Vermont

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0266
Interview Date: October 28, 2002
Location: Wilmington, Delaware
Interviewer: James G. Traynham
No. of pages: 39
Minutes: 120
Sponsor: Society of Chemical Industry
Society of Chemical Industry

  Abstract of Interview

Paul S. Anderson begins the interview with a discussion of his family and his childhood in Vermont. Though he was born in Concord, Vermont, in 1938, his father became the superintendent of Swainton, Vermont, schools soon after his son's birth, and so Anderson's family moved there. Paul Anderson attended Highgate High School, and went on to attend the University of Vermont for his undergraduate studies in chemistry. After receiving his B.S. in chemistry in 1959, Anderson attended the University of New Hampshire, where he earned his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1963. Following a brief post-doctoral fellowship with Jerrold Meinwald at Cornell University, Anderson accepted a senior research position at the Merck, Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories. Over the next thirty years, Anderson advanced through the ranks of Merck leadership, eventually becoming the vice president for chemistry at their West Point facilities. In 1994, DuPont and Merck formed a joint-venture company, for which Anderson served as the vice president for the chemical and physical sciences. Then, in 1998, DuPont bought out Merck's half of the joint venture and made Anderson the senior vice president of his department for the newly formed DuPont Pharmaceuticals. When Bristol-Meyers Squibb bought DuPont Pharmaceuticals in 2001, Anderson continued with the company as the vice president of drug discovery. Anderson concludes his interview with his feelings about winning the Perkin Medal and the significance of federal funding for scientific research.


1959 B.S., Chemistry, University of Vermont
1963 Ph.D., Chemistry, University of New Hampshire

  Professional Experience

Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories

1964 - 1969 Senior Research Chemist, Medicinal Chemistry Department

Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories

1969 - 1973 Research Fellow, Medicinal Chemistry Department

Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories

1973 - 1975 Senior Research Fellow, Medicinal Chemistry Department

Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories

1975 - 1979 Associate Director, Medicinal Chemistry Department

Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories

1979 - 1980 Senior Director, Medicinal Chemistry Department

Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories

1980 - 1988 Executive Director, Medicinal Chemistry Department

Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories

1988 - 1994 Vice President for Chemistry

DuPont-Merck Pharmaceutical Company

1994 - 1998 Employee

DuPont-Merck Pharmaceutical Company

1998 - 2001 Senior Vice President for Chemical and Physical Sciences

Bristol-Meyers Squibb Company

2001 - 2002 Vice President, Drug Discovery


1992 Philadelphia Section of the American Chemical Society Award
1995 E.B. Herschberg Award for Important Discoveries in Medicinally Active Substances (ACS)
1998 D.Sc. (honoris causa), University of Vermont
1998 D.Sc. (honoris causa), University of Montpelier
1998 Lord Company Lecturer at Allegheny College
1999 Regents Lecturer, University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Chemistry
1999 Lambda Upsilon Award Lectureship, University of Nebraska, Department of Chemistry
1999 Commencement Speaker, College of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley
2000 Robbins Lecturer at Pomona College
2001 Hurd Lecturer at Northwestern University
2001 American Chemical Society Award in Industrial Chemistry
2001 Doctor of Chemistry (honoris causa), University of New Hampshire
2002 Perkin Medal, Society of Chemical Industry
2002 Edward Smissman Lecturer at the University of Kansas

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Childhood and Early Education 1

Born in Concord, Vermont. Father's work in the Vermont school system. Attending Highgate High School. Initial interest in chemistry. Undergraduate education at the University of Vermont. Donald Gregg. Clinton Cook.

Graduate School 7

Graduate education at University of New Hampshire. Robert Lyle. Harold Iddles. Paul Jones. Lecturing at UNH. Introduction to medicinal chemistry.

Early Career 9

Post-doctoral fellowship with Jerrold Meinwald at Cornell University. Researching cockroaches. Harold Scheraga. Peter Debye. Joining Merck Laboratories. Working with Frank Robinson and Jim Sprague. Drug research at Merck. Gordon Gribble. Producing aromatic hydrocarbons. MK-108.

Moving to West Point 16

Ralph S. Hirschmann. Becoming the head of medicinal chemistry at West Point. P. Roy Vagelos becomes head of research at Merck. Management philosophy at West Point. Considering the mechanisms of action. Various drugs developed at Merck. The DuPont-Merck Pharmaceutical Company. The selling of Merck to Bristol-Meyers Squibb. The future of Bristol-Meyers.

Conclusion 24

Reflections on winning the Perkin Medal. The importance of federal investment in research. Serving as president of the American Chemical Society. Discussion of his wife and future goals.

Index 28

  About the Interviewer

James G. Traynham

James G. Traynham is a professor of chemistry at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. He holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Northwestern University. He joined Louisiana State University in 1953 and served as chemistry department chairperson from 1968 to 1973. He was chairman of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1988 and is currently councilor of the Baton Rouge section of the American Chemical Society. He was a member of the American Chemical Society’s Joint-Board Council on Chemistry and Public Affairs, as well as a member of the Society’s Committees on Science, Chemical Education, and Organic Chemistry Nomenclature. He has written over 90 publications, including a book on organic nomenclature and a book on the history of organic chemistry.

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