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Elias James Corey
Elias James Corey (born July 12, 1928) is a renowned American organic chemist. In 1990 he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his development of the theory and methodology of organic synthesis", specifically retrosynthetic analysis. Regarded by many as one of the greatest living chemists, he has developed numerous synthetic reagents, methodologies, and has advanced the science of organic synthesis considerably. He was awarded the Japan Prize in 1989.
He was born "William" to Christian Lebanese immigrants in Methuen, Massachusetts, 30 miles north of Boston. His mother changed his name to "Elias" to honor his father who died eighteen months after the birth of his son. His widowed mother, brother, two sisters and an aunt and uncle all lived together in a spacious house- struggling through the depression. He attended Catholic elementary school and Lawrence public High School.
At MIT, he earned both a bachelor's degree in 1948 and a Ph.D. in 1951. Both degrees were in chemistry. Immediately, he joined the faculty of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1959, he moved to Harvard University, where he is currently an emeritus professor of organic chemistry. He was awarded the American Chemical Society's greatest honor, the Priestley Medal, in 2004.
He has developed several new synthetic reagents:
Several reactions developed in the E.J. Corey labs have become commonplace in modern synthetic organic chemistry. Several reactions have been named after him:
Other notable syntheses include:
A press releasedescribing Corey's accomplishments following his receiving the 1990 Nobel Prize stated:
Graduate student suicides
Between 1980 and 1998 there have been eight graduate-student suicides, half of them happened in the chemistry department, and three of those were suicides of students supervised by Prof. Corey. 
The three suicidal students were:
Corey was about 70 years old at the time of the last two suicides. Altom's suicide caused controversy because he explicitly blamed the advisor (Corey) for his problems. Altom died by taking potassium cyanide in 1998, citing in his farewell note "abusive research supervisors" as one reason for taking his life. Altom's suicide note had been described as a "policy paper," because it contained explicit instructions on how to reform the relationship between students and their supervisors. 
Recently when awarded the Priestley Medal, E. J. Corey has controversially claimed to have inspired Robert Burns Woodward prior to the development of the Woodward-Hoffmann rules. This was rebutted by Roald Hoffmann in the journal Angewandte Chemie.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Elias_James_Corey". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|