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Journal of the Mexican Chemical Society

Print version ISSN 1870-249X

J. Mex. Chem. Soc vol.53 n.3 México Jul./Sep. 2009




Special Issue of the J. Mex. Chem. Soc. in Honor of Dr. Ernest L. Eliel (1921–2008)


Last year, we have seen the passing of one of the most influential researchers in the field of Stereochemistry, Professor Ernest L. Eliel, who played a key role in the development of this area in the world. Dr. Eliel is recognized by his seminal and numerous scientific contributions, by his service to chemistry through the activities of the American Chemical Society and Chemical Societies of other countries, but perhaps he is best recognized for his books [1,2], from which thousands of chemists all over the world have learned and still learn Stereochemistry. This issue of the Journal of the Mexican Chemical Society compiles several articles as a recognition made to this exceptional scientist, educator, mentor, friend, and colleague by the authors of the contributions.

The biography of Dr. Eliel is remarkable and, fortunatelly, he wrote his autobiography in 1990 [3]. He was born in Cologne, Germany, in December 28, 1921. He left Germany as the policies of the Nazis were increased and emigrated to Scotland in 1938, but he was deported in 1940 to a Canadian Confinement Camp, before he could move in 1941 to Havana, Cuba, where he studied chemistry and received his B. Sc. degree in 1946. Finally, he emigrated to the United States in that year, graduated under the scientific supervision of Harold Snyder at the University of Illinois in 1948, and developed an impressive academic career in the University of Notre Dame and at the University of North Carolina for almost fifty years, including an extraordinary service to the chemical sciences during all his life.

Jeffrey I. Seeman has previously written a concise biography emphasizing Eliel's professional career and his activities in the American Chemical Society [4], and he contributes in this issue with a brief review of Eliel's activities in Latin America, in general, and in Mexico, in particular. Additionally, Eliel stimulated some scientific ideas that could be considered as seeds that have developed in different ways, as Brunet pointed out in his contribution in this issue [6]. A brief obituary describing the activities of Dr. Eliel as scientist and in collaboration with the Mexican Chemical Society has recently been published [7].

We thank the authors of the various contributions to this issue for their efforts and collaboration in a challenging timetable, and we hope this issue honoring the memory of Dr. Ernest L. Eliel will be a tribute to the generous role he played as scientist, as promoter of the chemical sciences, as teacher, as textbook author, and as exceptional individual.


Eusebio Juaristi
Joaquín Tamariz
Guillermo Delgado



1. Eliel, E. L. Stereochemistry of Carbon Compounds. New York, McGraw–Hill, 1962.         [ Links ]

2. Eliel, E. L.; Wilen, S. H. With a contribution by Mander, L. N. Stereochemistry of Carbon Compounds. New York. John Wiley & Sons. 1994.         [ Links ]

3. Eliel, E. L. From Cologne to Chapel Hill, In Profiles, Pathways and Dreams; Seeman, J. I., Ed.; American Chemical Society. Washington, D.C., 1990.         [ Links ]

4. Seeman, J. I. Ernest L. Eliel: A Life of Purpose, Determination and Integrity. Chirality 2002, 14, 98–109.         [ Links ]

5. Seeman, J. I. A Debt Repaid. Ernest L. Eliel's Life Made Possible by Five Years in Latin America. J. Mex. Chem. Soc. 2009, 53, 78–92.         [ Links ]

6. Brunet, E.; Alhendawi, H.M.H.; Juanes, O.; Rodríguez–Ubis, J. C. The Quest for Relationships between Conformation and Chiroptical Properties: From Solution to Solid State. J. Mex. Chem. Soc. 2009, 53, 155–162.         [ Links ]

7. Juaristi, E.; Delgado, G. Ernest L. Eliel (1921–2008). Bol. Soc. Quím. Méx. 2008, 2, 121–130.         [ Links ]

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