Physical organic chemist. Palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reaction. Sole author - 7 consecutive papers. Heck reaction: important concept, tool for organic and medicinal chemists; fuorescence labeling of DNA bases - sequencing DNA/Genome. Thinner computer screens in future. "Great art in test tube."
Growing orchids in early teens lead to passion for chemistry.
Richard F. Heck was born in Springfield, MA on 15 Aug 1931 to a home maker mother and a salesman father. He was an only child.
While visiting the Philippines in 1979, he met his future wife Socorro Nardo at a Manila restaurant. Retiring in 1989, he and his wife moved to the Philippines. There were no children. His Filipino wife, though twenty years younger to him, predeceased him by two years. He had multiple health problems including Diabetes, Pneumonia and slight Dementia. His wife's nephew Michael Nardo was taking care of him. Socorro's family considered sending him to the US for health care but did not do so for he had no family in the US. Heck died under tragic circumstances - at the end of life a Manila hospital refused to treat him for there had been a delay in the insurance company paying the hospital. More info in links below:
'LEFT TO DIE BECAUSE HE HAD NO MONEY' Nobel laureate chemist Richard Heck, 84, dies in Manila. Published October 11, 2015 7:25am
Refusing to Treat the Poor. The Manila Times Editorial. Please scroll down that page.
Name: Richard Fred Heck
Birth: 15 August 1931, Springfield, MA, USA
Death: 9 October 2015, Manila, Philippines
Institution: University of Delaware, USA
Award: "for palladium-catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis"
Subject: Organic chemistry
Portion of cash: 1/3
Doctoral Advisor: Saul Winstein
History of Discovery
Honoring Richard Heck