Scientific Genealogy


TURRO, NICHOLAS J (1938-2012)

Ph.D., CALTECH, 1963

Turro was a cutting-edge researcher who led advances in the use of photochemistry and spectroscopy to reveal the structure and dynamics of supramolecular systems. He was the William P. Schweitzer professor of chemistry at Columbia University. He was a member of National Academy of Science and was the author of the standard textbook in the field of photochemisty, Modern Molecular Photochemistry and over 700 scientific papers. Turro recently received the NSF’s Director’s Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars.

Turro Group at Columbia University


HAMMOND, GEORGE SIMMS (1921-2005)

Ph.D., HARVARD, 1947

George S. Hammond is widely and rightly considered as one of the “fathers of modern mechanistic organic photochemistry”. In the late 1950's he initiated as series of investigations of photochemical reactions in solution the exposed the rich information that was available about excited states through the judicious integration of spectroscopy and physical organic chemistry. Hammond was also a leader in many other areas of organic chemistry such as carbonium ion chemistry and free radical chemistry. The “Hammond Postulate” is a key concept in reaction mechanisms. His photochemical research group at Caltech spawned many leaders in the field of organic photochemistry. For more on George Hammond click here. For a tribute to Professor Hammond on the occasion of his 80th birthday, click here.


BARTLETT, PAUL DOUGHTY (1907-1999)

Ph.D., HARVARD, 1931

Paul D. Bartlett is widely and rightly recognized as one of the “the fathers of modern physical organic chemistry.” His investigations of reaction intermediates, kinetics and reaction mechanisms set the style for future generations of physical organic chemists. Many of his investigations of carbonium ions, free radicals, biradicals peroxide decomposition and cycloaddition reactions remain classic exemplars of systematic correlations of molecular structure and chemical reactivity.


CONANT, JAMES BRYANT (1893-1978)

Ph.D., HARVARD, 1916

He investigated the mechanism of mustard gas synthesis and SN2 reactions; discovered the presence of copper in hemocyanin and showed that the prosthetic group was non-porphyrinic and contains sulfur. He also studied high pressure polymerization of olefins and was first to clearly distinguish kinetic and thermodynamic controls.


KOHLER, ELMER PETER (1865-1938)

Ph.D., JOHNS HOPKINS, 1892

Kohler discovered 1,4 addition to alpha, beta unsaturated ketones; carried out comprehensive studies of tautomerism, isomerism, and configuration of unsaturated compounds. He also discovered alpha disulfones, alpha-ketosulfones, and isoxazoline oxides. Additionally, the first to resolve allene into optical isomers and prepared the first darylmethyl free radical.


REMSEN, IRA (1846-1927)

Ph.D., GOTTINGEN, 1870

Remsen is known for defining rules governing the oxidation of aromatic sidechains and the protective effect of ortho substituents. He also was the first to synthesize saccharin and attemped the first reaction that tried to prove the existence of a reactive intermediate by a trapping experiment. He also wrote several influential organic chemistry textbooks.


FITTIG, WILHELM RUDOLPH (1835-1910)

Ph.D., GOTTINGEN, 1858

In addition to jointly discovering the Wurtz-Fittig reaction for synthesis of alkylbenzenes, Fittig discovered a large number of organic compounds such as pinacol and biphenyl. He identified and synthesized the first lactones, isolated phenanthrene from tar and did in depth investigations into the structures of napthalene and fluorene.


LIMPRICHT, HEINRICH FRANZ PETER (1827-1909)

Ph.D., GOTTINGEN, 1850

Limprict was one of the early organic chemists who studied a wide range of organic compounds ranging from amino acids to chlorine substituted aromatics to pyrrole. He developed many new syntheses for aliphatic acids, alcohols, and aldehydes. Included in his accomplishments are the syntheses of anthracene and diphenylacetylene.


WOHLER, FRIEDRICH (1800-1882)

Ph.D., HEIDELBERG, 1823

Initially a medical student studying under Gmelin, Wohler was sent to pursue chemistry in depth with Berzelius at Heidelberg. He successfully synthesized urea from ammonium cyanate demonstrating the relationship between organic and inorganic chemistry and introduced the concept of intramolecular rearrangement of atoms. In his studies he discovered Al, Be, and Y and formulated the compound-radical theory.


Von BERZELIUS, JOHNS JACOB (1779-1848)

Ph.D., UPPSALA, 1802

Berzelius made contributions of great importance to the field of chemistry. He was the first person to use the term “organic chemistry” and began to define the subject as we know it by writing one of the first Organic Chemistry textbooks. He discovered Ce, Se, Si, and Th and suggested the use of one and two letter symbols to represent all elements. He generated the first accurate list of atomic weights and invented the mercury cathode. He proposed many explanations and gave names to phenomena such as electronegativity, catalysis and polymerization. During the first half of the 19th century Berzelius was considered the leading chemical authority.


AFZELIUS, JOHAN (1753-1837)

Ph.D., UPPSALA, 1776

Following in the footsteps of Bergman, Afzelius continued to develop methods of quantitative analysis of inorganic compounds. He also spent time studying oxalic and formic acid, the latter he isolated from ants.


BERGMAN, TOBERN OLOF (1735-1784)

Ph.D., UPPSALA, 1758

Bergman made great contributions to the field of inorganic chemistry. He founded current methods of quantitative inorganic analysis, specifically for determining Ca, Pb, and sulfuric acid. He introduced the binomial nomenclature system for salts and drew up comprehensive tables of chemical affinities. In addition to his chemistry, Bergman made contributions in the fields of physics and geology, being the first person to classify rocks based on their chemical composition.


FERRNER, BENGT (1724-1802)

UPPSALA UNIV., approx. 1751

Designed astronomical instruments; in charge of preparing for observation of Halley's comet in 1759 and Venus in 1761; industrial spy for the King of Sweden while in England.


KLINGENSTIERNA, SAMUEL (1698-1765)

L.L.B., UPPSALA UNIV., 1717

Provided first comprehensive theory for design of lenses that are achromatic and lack spherical aberration.


DUHRE, ANDERS G. (1680-1739)

UPPSALA UNIV., approx. 1711

Wrote one of the first textbooks on algebra in Swedish.


ELVIUS, PETRUS (THE ELDER) (1660-1718)

M.A., UPPSALA UNIV., 1688

Wrote textbooks on astronomical observation; designed a planetarium based on Copernican theory; pioneered giving lectures in Swedish rather than Latin.


HOFFVENIUS, PETRUS (1630-1682)

M.D., LEIDEN UNIV., 1660

Called the father of Swedish medicine; studied the pineal gland and respiration.


VAN DER LINDEN, JOHANNES ANTONIDES (1609-1664)

M.D., UNIV. OF FRANEKER, 1630

Professor of medicine, anatomy and botany; philologist and publisher; published books on physiology, milk, and venereal diseases.


WINSEMIUS, MENELAUS (1591-1637)

M.D., LEIDEN UNIV., 1613

Professor of medicine, anatomy and botany; improved botanical gardens at Univ. of Franeker.


PAUW, PIETER (PAWIUS, PETRUS) (1564-1617)

M.D., UNIV. ROSTOCK, 1587

Wrote a text on skeletal anatomy; described frontal and maxillary sinuses and intestinal valves.


BRUCAEUS, HENRICUS (1531-1593)

COLLEGE ROYAL, PARIS, approx. 1550
M.D. (HON.), UNIV. BOLOGNA, approx. 1560

Professor of mathematics and medicine; wrote texts on plague, scurvy, and mathematics of spheres and motion.


RAMUS, PETRUS (1515-1572)

M.A., PHILOSOPHY, PARIS, 1536

Professor of philosophy and mathematics; champion of revival of arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and physics in the educational curriculum (which had fallen into neglect) by emphasizing the practical origins and applications of these subjects.


LE HENNUYER, JEAN (1497-1578)

Th.D., SORBONNE, 1539

Domenican Theologian - Portrait of French bishop Jean Hennuyer (1497-1578) by Antoine Louis François Sergent (1741-1847)