Woodward, R. B. (Robert Burns), 1917-1979Alternative names
Robert Burns Woodward (1917-1979) joined the Chemistry Department at Harvard University in 1938. He was appointed Morris Loeb Professor of Chemistry in 1958 and held the Donner Professorship of Science from 1960 until his death. Woodward was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1965 for his work in organic chemistry.
From the description of Papers of Robert Burns Woodward, 1873-1980 (inclusive), 1930-1979 (bulk). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 76973225
Robert Burns Woodward (1917-1979), American chemist, Harvard professor, and 1965 Nobel Prize winner, is noted most for his work in organic synthesis.
Woodward was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, on April 10, 1917, the son of Arthur and Margaret Woodward. He received his elementary and high school education in Quincy public schools, and was graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1937 with both B.S. and Ph.D. degrees. In 1938 Woodward came to Harvard as private assistant to Professor E. P. Kohler and was soon thereafter appointed to the Society of Fellows. In 1941, he became an instructor in chemistry, progressing to an appointment as full professor in 1950. Woodward was appointed Morris Loeb Professor of Chemistry in 1953, and held the Donner Professorship of Science from 1960 until his death on July 8, 1979.
The following chronology of his work was adapted from that provided by his daughter Crystal Woodward in Art and Elegance in the Synthesis of Organic Compounds: Robert Burns Woodward published in Creative Peogle at Work , Oxford University Press, 1989.
Publishes first scientific paper
1940- 1942: Publishes four papers on rules for the correlation of ultraviolet spectroscopy with molecular structure; known as the Woodward Rules
Writes early paper on the Diels-Alder reaction
Completes synthesis of quinine
1945- 1956: Determines the structure of penicillin, patulin, strychnine, terramycin, aureomycin, and magnamycin
Synthesis of the steroids cholesterol and cortisone
Synthesis of strychnine and lysergic acid
Synthesis of reserpine
Completes synthesis of chlorophyll, which took four years
Begins work at the Woodward Research Institute Synthesis of cephalosporin C
1965- 1969: Development of the laws of the conservation of orbital symmetry, with Roald Hoffman
Synthesis of vitamin B12 completed with A. Eschenmoser
From the guide to the Papers of Robert Burns Woodward, 1873-1980, 1930-1979, (Harvard University Archives)
- Chemistry, organic--Research
- Vitamin B12--Motion pictures
- Chemistry, organic--Study and teaching (Higher)
- Massachusetts--Cambridge (as recorded)