Title and Description Page
Recent Works 1
Recent retrospective publications. Collaborations with Noyori.
Born in Massachusetts. Father owned a cotton mill. Life during the Great Depression. Attending boarding school. Good student but socially immature. Phillips Academy, Andover as a prep school for Harvard.
Summer Off 19
Sailed from Gloucester, MA to Norway in 1935 between high school and college. Schooner had no power, only sails. Traveled around Europe and returned to the U.S. on a Swedish steam ship. Grew up sailing. Parents encouraging of travel.
Requirements for entrance. Types of chemistry taken. Studying with Louis Feiser. Chemistry Labs. Difference between Chemists and Med students in Classes.
Importance of the experience for emotional growth. Desire to go west.
Graduate School 39
Knew he eventually wanted to go to industry. Draft deferred due to graduate school. Only had three years to finish. Studying locoweed. Research failed, switched to cardiac alglycones. Advisor Elderfield typically away from lab. Program run by Gus Fried.
New York in the War Years 55
Influx of Jewish scientists during the war years. What they did in New York. Racism. What was going on with the war effort.
Getting a Job 57
Interviewed with all of the major chemical companies. Connection to Thomas and Hochwalt at Monsanto through Elderfield. Got offers everywhere he interviewed. Desire to go west related to college road trip in 1936. Chose Dayton lab.
Dayton Laboratories 61
There for a year and a half. Very little work on war projects. Minor work on purifying explosives. Lab explosion in graduate school. Work on acetylene. Other Monsanto projects. Lax safety standards in labs during this time.
Move to St. Louis 65
Met his wife there. Initial work on plasticizers. Work on production of lignin vanillin.
Steroid Chemistry 70
Monsanto's interest in steroids. Company sponsored post-doc at Harvard. Woodward's personality. Lunches with Woodward and Brutcher. Life in Cambridge. Weekend trips to Rhode Island. Upjohn beat them to total steroid synthesis. Jealousy over Woodward's natural ability. Synthetic caffeine and Coca Cola.
Discussion of Woodward, education, and mutual acquaintances from Monsanto.
Monsanto in the Post War years 84
Shifts in management. Work on kinetics. Early hydrogenation work. Extracting Maltol from larch bark. Asymmetric hydrogenation. Gilbert Stork. Dealing with the patent office at Monsanto. Race to publish.
Discovered to be a good treatment for Parkinson's. Vanillin used to make L-dopa. Commercialization of the product. Difficulty convincing executives of that it's marketable. Difficulties publishing due to patent office. Consequences on follow up on L-dopa work.
Winning the Nobel Prize 103
How he believes he won. Secrecy surrounding selection process. 4:00 am phone call. No one at Monsanto could remember him. Importance of publishing first when it comes to the Nobel. International recognition and celebrity. People more aware of the Nobel than any other prize.
Industry and Academia 111
Difficulty of getting out a good paper from industrial labs. Change in lab dynamics. No longer need to make your own phosphines or compounds. Conferences as an industrial chemist.
Mass Production 115
Plant conversions. Quirks in the transition to large scale. Advantage provided by modern lab supply houses. Monsanto's domination of L-dopa market.
Nobel Prize 121
Still not sure of award selection process. Awarded for chirally catalyzed hydrogenation. Management of the prize. The award ceremony.
Monsanto Over the Years 123
What Monsanto has been. Lack of nepotism. Need for undirected research. Restructuring due to environmental concerns. Paying for the sins of the past. Prevalence of dioxin and benzene in the labswhich no one knew could be harmful.
Politics of the Nobel 128
The organizations that approach Nobel Laureates for sponsorship. Prevalence of European Americans as winners. Who gets left out and why. Reactions to the prize.