Winstein, a Canadian by birth, spent most of his professional career at UCLA, where he did research at the forefront of physical organic chemistry. He is best known for probing deeply the mechanisms of organic reactions, among them, allylic rearrangements, replacements and eliminations, using kinetics, stereochemistry, isotopic labelling and other physical methods. He developed concepts such as neighboring group participation, classical and non-classical carbocations, homoallylic and homoaromatic stabilization, tight and solvent-separated ion pairs, anchimeric assistance, and Y-values as a measure of solvent ionizing power. Winstein maintained a prodigious output of work of rigorous quality and perceptiveness, with an emphasis on logic and a search for answers to fundamental questions. He received many honors including, posthumously, the National Medal of Science.
Sponsor: Chung-yin Lai
Location in chemistry building: Fifth Floor; East Wing South Wall; Sequence 1
Source: John D. Roberts