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MIT alumnus wins chemistry prize

MIT alumnus wins

chemistry prize

By Reuven M. Lerner

The 1990 Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded on Wednesday to E. J. Corey '48, a professor of organic chemistry at Harvard University. Corey, who also received his doctorate from MIT, was cited for his work in organic synthesis.

His work has led to successful blood clotting treatment, asthma medications and the well-known drug erythromycin.

Corey has received numerous awards in the past, including honorary degrees from Harvard University, the University of Chicago, Oxford University, and the University of Illinois. He has also received the Order of the Rising Sun Gold and Silver Star from the government of Japan, the Gold Medal Award from the American Institute of Chemists, the Japan Prize in Science, the President's National Medal of Science, the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, and the American Chemical Society Award in Pure Chemistry.

Corey has been especially cited for his contributions to synthetic organic chemistry that have resulted in the syntheses of important bio-organic substances of great chemotherapeutic value, and the development of computer-assisted approaches to organizing the logic of synthesis.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Corey discussed his research on developing a common "language" for describing chemical reactions. "The logic I've developed is the first general language which can be used to solve any synthetic chemical problem, regardless of what molecule one wants to construct."

He added that "many of the therapeutically active compounds that have been tested and put on the market in recent years have been developed by people who have been influenced by this work."