(1917-1979) US chemist who worked on synthesizing a large number of complex molecules. These included quinine 1944, cholesterol 1951, chlorophyll 1960, and vitamin B12 1971. Nobel Prize 1965.
Woodward was born in Boston and studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He worked throughout his career at Harvard, becoming professor 1950.
In 1947 Woodward worked out the structure of penicillin and two years later that of strychnine. In the early 1950s, he began to synthesize steroids, and in 1954 he synthesized the poisonous alkaloid strychnine and lysergic acid, the basis of the hallucinogenic drug LSD. In 1956 he made reserpine, the first of the tranquilizing drugs, Turning his attention again to antibiotics, he and his co-workers produced a tetracycline 1962 and cephalosporin C in 1965. The synthesis of vitamin B12 was made in collaboration with Swiss chemists and took ten years.
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