1928-

Elias James Corey

Location: Fifth Floor, East Wing, North Wall, Sequence 3

Source: Professor Corey

Sponsor: Cynthia and Robert E. Maleczka, Jr.


Professor Corey (to colleagues and friends, E.J.) is known for his many spectacular contributions to synthetic organic chemistry. The concept of "retrosynthetic analysis", which changed the way organic chemists undertake the synthesis of complex natural products, the synthesis of longifolene, maytansine, the ginkolides, prostaglandins and leukotrienes, the development of new synthetic methods, particularly using chiral catalysts, and the application of computers to synthesis design are among his most notable achievements. Corey has received many honors, including the Wolf Prize (1986), the National Medal of Science (1988), the Japan Prize in Medicinal Science (1989) and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1990).

Born in Massachusetts, Corey obtained the Ph.D. at M.I.T. (1951), was on the faculty at the University of Illinois (1951-59) where he became full professor at the early age of 27, and since 1959 he has been professor at Harvard. His research associates (graduate students and postdoctoral fellows) number over 500 and populate the academic and industrial laboratories of Europe, Asia and the Americas.