Elias James Corey

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Elias James "E.J." Corey (born July 12, 1928) is an American organic chemist.


  • Part of the charm of synthetic organic chemistry derives from the vastness of the intellectual landscape along several dimensions. First, there is the almost infinite variety and number of possible target structures that lurk in the darkness waiting to be made. Then, there is the vast body of organic reactions that serve to transform one substance into another, now so large in number as to be beyond credibility to a non-chemist. There is the staggering range of reagents, reaction conditions, catalysts, elements, and techniques that must be mobilized in order to tame these reactions for synthetic purposes. Finally, it seems that new information is being added to that landscape at a rate that exceeds the ability of a normal person to keep up with it. In such a troubled setting any author, or group of authors, must be regarded as heroic if through their efforts, the task of the synthetic chemist is eased.
    • Foreword of Name Reactions in Heterocyclic Chemistry (2004) by Jie Jack Li
  • We live in a troubled, but wonderful time. It is our good fortune to witness and benefit from scientific advances that would have been literally unimaginable to our grandparents. However, there are dark clouds on the horizon. The rate of growth of scientific knowledge has been so great as to outstrip the ability of our society to assimilate it, the capacity of the educational system to teach it properly and the wisdom of government adequately to sustain and apply it. There is growing indifference to science among the young. Even medical science, which touches the lives of us all, is generally left to the practitioners. Whatever the reason for this disparity between the importance of science and the lack of general public understanding, it is important to address it.
    • E. J. Corey, ‎Barbara Czakó, ‎László Kürti, Molecules and Medicine (2007). Introduction

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