01 February 2015

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RIP Carl Djerassi Dies Creator of Birth Control Pill

RIP Carl Djerassi Dies Creator of Birth Control Pill

Professor Emeritus at Stanford University Carl Djerassi, an Austrian-born US chemist who developed the birth control pill, has passed away at the age of 91.

Djerassi died of complications of cancer in his San Francisco home.

He was  famous for leading a research team in Mexico City that in 1951 developed norethindrone, a synthetic molecule that became a key component of the first birth control pill.

Year 1951-
He was 28 and working for a small chemical company in Mexico City when he helped make a discovery that changed the world.

He was a professor of chemistry at Stanford University for more than 40 years and published more than 1,200 scientific papers.

Djerassi was born Oct. 29, 1923, in Vienna.
His father, who was a physician, and his mother, who was a dentist, divorced when he was 6.

He and his mother left the country in 1938 to get away from the Nazis' oppression of Jews, moving first to Bulgaria and the next year to New York, where they arrived with almost no money.

Djerassi won a scholarship to Tarkio College in Missouri, later studying chemistry at Kenyon College in Ohio, where he graduated summa cum laude before his 19th birthday.

He earned his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin in 1945.

After earning his doctorate, he took a job as a research chemist in New Jersey, moving to Mexico City in 1948 to become associate director of chemical research at Syntex, a company working to synthesize hormones.

He worked with researchers George Rosenkranz and then-student Luis Miramontes, who on Oct. 15, 1951, took the final step in creating norethindrone. The three men shared in the patent.

The Food and Drug Administration approved norethindrone for contraceptive use in 1962

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