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Humor, Defining Moment

Herbert C Brown Ph.D.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1979
The President's National Medel of Sciences - Physical Sciences, 1969

Organic Chemist. Development of use of boron into important reagents in organic synthesis. School, advanced several times, graduating at 12; refused further advancement, avoiding being sister's classmate.

Graduating, Depression years, future wife Sarah gave him gift, Stock's 'Hydrides of Boron and Silicon' because cheapest chemistry book! Led to Nobel Prize!

Humor, Defining Moment

Why did I decide to undertake my doctorate research in the exotic field of boron hydrides? As it happened, my girl friend, Sarah Baylen, soon to become my wife, presented me with a graduation gift, Alfred Stock's book, The Hydrides of Boron and Silicon. I read this book and became interested in the subject. How did it happen that she selected this particular book? This was the time of the Depression. None of us had much money. It appears she selected as her gift the most economical chemistry book ($2.06) available in the University of Chicago bookstore. Such are the developments that can shape a career.

Herbert Brown
Drawing: Newton Llorente

Name: Herbert Charles Brown
Birth: 22 May 1912, London, United Kingdom
Death: 19 December 2004, Lafayette, IN, USA
Institution: Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
Award: "for their development of the use of boron- and phosphorus-containing compounds, respectively, into important reagents in organic synthesis"
Subject: Organic chemistry
Portion of cash: 1/2
Inventory of H.C. Brown papers
Honoring H.C. Brown
Defining Moment