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Fellows Directory

Albert Eschenmoser

Albert Eschenmoser

Professor Albert Eschenmoser ForMemRS

Foreign Member

Elected: 1986


Albert Eschenmoser was a world leader in the synthesis of organic chemicals, having been the first to produce a number of important compounds. These include a natural painkiller for gout called colchicine and the highly complex molecule, vitamin B12.

Later in his career, Albert began to study the structures of the molecules that carry the genetic blueprint, DNA and RNA. He synthesised alternative backbones for both, showing that other structures are possible. Albert's work raised the question of why DNA and RNA exist in their common structures and represent the best choice for the replication of genetic information and the creation of new life.

Albert wrote over 250 scientific publications and received a host of awards during his career. He was a founding member of Academia Europaea and a member of the US National Academy of Science. He won many prizes, including the 1986 Wolf Prize in Chemistry and the Benjamin Franklin Medal of the Franklin Institute.

Professor Albert Eschenmoser ForMemRS died on 14 July 2023.


  • Davy Medal

    In recognition of his distinguished contributions to modern synthetic organic chemistry, well illustrated by his impressive total synthesis of vitamin B12.

  • Wolf Prize

    In the field of chemistry for outstanding research on the synthesis, stereochemistry and reaction mechanisms for formation of natural products, especially Vitamin-B12.

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