Elias James Corey
Elias James Corey Quotes
To a synthetic chemist, the complex molecules of nature are as beautiful as any of her other creations. The perception of that beauty depends on the understanding of chemical structures and their transformations, and, as with a treasured work of art, deepens as the subject is studied, perhaps even to a level approaching romance.
From the ages of five to twelve, I attended the Saint Laurence O'Toole elementary school in Lawrence, a city next to Methuen, and was taught by sisters of the Catholic order of Notre Dame de Namour. I enjoyed all my subjects there. I do not remember ever learning any science, except for mathematics.
By 1954, as an assistant professor with a group of three graduate students, I was able to initiate more complex experimental projects, dealing with the structure, stereochemistry and synthesis of natural products. As a result of the success of this research, I was appointed in 1956, at age twenty-seven, as professor of chemistry.
It is fortunate that molecular synthesis also serves the utilitarian function of producing quantities of rare or novel substances which satisfy human needs, especially with regard to health, and the scientific function of stimulating research and education throughout the whole discipline of chemistry.