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Special feature on Sir John Cornforth

Posted on 13. October, 2015.

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Sir John Cornforth AC CBE FRS was one of the major figures of organic chemistry of the 20th century. His pioneering work on the stereochemistry of enzyme reactions was acknowledged by the award of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1975. He also made significant contributions to the synthesis of sterols, the structure and chemistry of penicillin and the chemistry of oxazoles. 

The three articles featured in this issue are based, in part, on lectures given to the Historical Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry at Burlington House, London, on 18 March, 2015 to celebrate the ‘Life and Work of Sir John Cornforth’.
 
The lectures were given by Professors Sir Alan Battersby FRS, Douglas W.Young FRSE, Tom Simpson FRS, Bernard Golding and Dr Tim Wallace. We also thank Professors Sir Alan Battersby and Douglas W. Young for the opportunity to read a draft of their Royal Society Biographical Memoir of Sir John Cornforth
prior to its publication.
 

RUPERT PURCHASE and JAMES R. HANSON
University of Sussex, UK
 
 
Sir John and Lady Rita Cornforth: a distinguished chemical partnership

Purchase, Rupert; Hanson, James R.

Science Progress, Volume 98, Number 3, September 2015, pp. 212-218

This review describes the life of Sir John Cornforth AC CBE FRS, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1975. It covers his early life in Australia, his work in Oxford, the National Institute for Medical Research, the Milstead Laboratory of Chemical Enzymology and the University of Sussex, together with the contributions made by his wife, Lady Rita Cornforth.

Keywords: Sir John Cornforth, Kappa, Lady Rita Cornforth, Nobel Prize, deafness, biosynthesis, stereochemistry
 
 
Sir John Cornforth AC CBE FRS: his synthetic work

Purchase, Rupert; Hanson, James R.

Science Progress, Volume 98, Number 3, September 2015, pp. 219-229

Sir John Cornforth’s work on the synthesis of cholesterol and penicillamine, on the chemistry of oxazoles, the stereochemistry of the synthesis of alkenes, the synthesis of abscisic acid and of dibenzophospholes as mimics of enzyme action, is reviewed.

Keywords: cholesterol, penicillamine, oxazoles, the Cornforth rearrangement, alkene synthesis, abscisic acid, dibenzophospholes, mimics of enzyme action


Sir John Cornforth AC CBE FRS: his biosynthetic work
 
Purchase, Rupert; Hanson, James R.
Science Progress, Volume 98, Number 3, September 2015, pp. 230-243

Sir John Cornforth's work on the stereochemistry of enzyme reactions involved in the biosynthesis of squalene and cholesterol and in the formation and metabolism of a chiral methyl group in acetyl co-enzyme A, is reviewed.

Keywords: acetyl co‑enzyme A, cholesterol, citric acid, chiral methyl, farnesyl diphosphate, mevalonic acid, squalene

“For the scientist, truth is seldom the sudden light that shows new order and beauty; more often, truth is the uncharted rock that sinks his ship in the dark.”
Sir John Cornforth, 1993