William von Eggers Doering

Location: Fifth Floor, East Wing, North Wall, Sequence 4

Source: Professor Doering

Sponsor: Evelyn P. & James E. Jackson
Dr. Ramon Mount

Doering's major interests were organic structures and reaction mechanisms. He established the aromatic nature of tropones, tropolones and the tropylium ion. Studies on thermal rearrangements showed that a chair-like transition state is preferred for the Cope rearrangement, and that degenerate Cope rearrangements in bi- and tricyclic systems lead to molecules with "fluxional" structures (i.e. bullvalene). Doering brought carbene chemistry to the attention of organic chemists; he studied carbene insertions, additions to multiple bonds, and intramolecular rearrangements. His interests were very wide-ranging, and he made contributions to the mechanism of solvolysis of tertiary systems, the Diels-Alder reaction, the Baeyer-Villiger rearrangement, the stereochemistry and internal rotations in non-concerted diradical processes, and cis-trans isomerism in higher polyenes.

Despite the Germanic name, Doering was born in Fort Worth, Texas. He was educated at Harvard (B.S. 1938, Ph.D. 1943) and served on the faculties of Columbia (1943-52), Yale (1952-68) and Harvard. Among his many honors are the ACS awards in Pure Chemistry (1953) and for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry (1966).