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Journal of the Mexican Chemical Society

versión impresa ISSN 1870-249X

J. Mex. Chem. Soc vol.53 no.3 México jul./sep. 2009

 

Article

 

A Debt Repaid. Ernest L. Eliel's Life Made Possible by Five Years in Latin America*

 

Jeffrey I. Seeman

 

Department of Chemistry, University of Richmond, Richmond, Virginia 23173 USA

 

Received July 31, 2009
Accepted October 30, 2009

 

Abstract

A review is presented of Ernest L. Eliel's contributions and dedication to chemists and chemistry in Latin American, in general, and México, in particular. During his long and productive career as a successful academic (and member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences), Eliel taught many students from Latin America. During an equally long and productive 'extra–curricular' professional career, Eliel was Chairman of the Board of the American Chemical Society (ACS), president of the ACS, and chair as well as a member of a number of ACS committees dealing with international activities. It was through those associations as well as through his scientific achievements that he was able to have great influence and positive effect on the chemistry in developing countries, in general, and in México, in particular.

Keywords: Ernest L. Eliel, Stereochemistry, Chemical Societies, Chemistry in Latin America.

 

Resumen

Se relatan las contribuciones del Dr. Ernest L. Eliel para apoyar el desarrollo de la química en América Latina en general, y en México en particular. En efecto, además de su extensa y fructífera labor académica, que lo llevó a ser miembro de la Academia de Ciencias de los Estados Unidos, Eliel participó en la formación de muchos estudiantes latinoamericanos. Además, Eliel fue Coordinador del Consejo Directivo de la Sociedad Estadounidense de Química (ACS por sus siglas en inglés), Presidente de la ACS, y coordinador de varios comités de la ACS dedicados a asuntos internacionales. A través de estas actividades y también como resultado de la calidad e impacto de sus logros científicos, Eliel tuvo una notable influencia y un impacto muy positivo sobre el avance de la química en países latinoamericanos, en particular en México.

Palabras clave: Ernest L. Eliel, estereoquímica, sociedades químicas, química en América Latina.

 

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Acknowledgments

The author thanks Eusebio Juaristi for his kind and thoughtful invitation to write this paper, Patrick Shea (archivist, Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia, PA for assistance in locating the required files and the Chemical Heritage Foundation for its gracious hospitality), and Mauricio Fortes, Bradley Miller (ACS), and Juaristi for providing helpful information and photographs. Some of the photographs used herein have appeared in Eliel's autobiography [1] and my biography of him [2]. Photographs not specifically credited were provided by Ernest for references [1] and [2] and are used herein courtesy of Eva Eliel. Most of all, the author writes this article in honor of his friend and colleague Ernest L. Eliel who was one of his "hidden advisors."

 

References

1. 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 ]

2. Seeman, J. I. Chirality 2002, 14, 98–109. See: http://imageserve.chem.unc.edu/resources/pdf_files/home_page/eliel.pdf, accessed October 26, 2009.         [ Links ]

3. Eliel, E. L. Derek Barton as 'Hidden Advisor', In The Bartonian Legacy; Scott, A. I., Potier, P., Eds.; Imperial College Press: London, 2000; pp 16–22.         [ Links ]

4. See: http://webapps.acs.org/findawards/detail.jsp?ContentId= CTP_004545, accessed October 19, 2009.

5. Shea, P. to Seeman, J. I., personal communication (e–mail), Eliel's Archives, Philadelphia, PA, July 16, 2009.

6. This manuscript is not, however, a research study of the various organization and programs with which Ernest and his colleagues were associated. Such a study is far outside the scope and intention of this article.

7. For further details of Ernest's life, please see his autobiography "From Cologne to Chapel Hill" and my biography "Ernest L. Eliel: A life of purpose, determination, and integrity" cited in references 1 and 2, respectively.

8. Eliel, E. L. "A Western European Experience from Years Past," 1992, Chapel Hill, NC (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel. ACS President 1992 file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).         [ Links ]

9. Miller, B. to Seeman, J. I., personal communication (e–mail), Washington, D.C., July 30, 2009.

10. Juaristi, E. to Seeman, J. I., personal communication (e–mail), Mexico City, July 30, 2009.

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20. In some of the documents referred to herein, the acronym "CONACYT" is spelled "CONACyT." To be true to the historical record, I have made no alternation of the use by individual authors.

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25. Anonymous "Draft 7/26/01 WFC; ACS International Agenda, 2002–2003," American Chemical Society, ca. 2002, Washington, D.C. (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel. International Activities Committee file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).         [ Links ]

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27. Eliel, E. L. to Lagowski, J. J., personal communication (letter), Stereochemical Non–Equivalence of Ligands and Faces (Heterotropicity), Chapel Hill, NC, April 1, 1980 (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel. Mexico file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).

28. Ligowski, J. J. to Eliel, E. L., personal communication (letter), Austin, TX, April 7, 1980.

29. Miller, B. (for E. L. Eliel) to ACS International Activities Committee members, personal communication (e–mail), Boletin Electronico Latinoamericano of the ACS, Washington, DC, January 15, 2003 (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel. International Activities Committee file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).

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31. Malin, J. M.; Eliel, E. L. "Latin American Regional Cooperation: Short–Term Visits to US Institutions by Young Latin American Investigators," 1998 or 1999, Washington, D.C. (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel. International Activities file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).         [ Links ]

32. Bardon, M. to Malin, J., personal communication (letter), Arlington, VA, ca. August 6, 1994 (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel, NSF Proposal file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).

33. Anonymous "National Science Foundation Proposal Evaluation From," 1994, Unknown (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel, NSF Proposal file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).         [ Links ]

34. National Science Foundation Office of Inspector General "Audit of United States–Mexico Foundation for Science, OIC 05–2–005," National Science Foundation December 8, 2004, Washington, D.C., http://www.nsf.gov/oig/USMFS05.pdf, accessed on July 28, 2008.         [ Links ]

35. Eliel, E. L. What Is the U.S.–Mexico Foundation for Science and What Does It Do? (CHED–124) 221st ACS National Meeting, San Diego, CA, 2001.         [ Links ]

36. Fortes, M. to Seeman, J. I., personal communication (e–mail), Ernest Eliel and FUMEC, Mexico City, July 28, 2009.

37. Eliel, E. L. to Contreras, R., personal communication (letter), Chapel Hill, NC, (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. 92 J. Mex. Chem. Soc. 2009, 53(3).

38. Miller, B. to Seeman, J. I., personal communication (e–mail), Washington, D.C., July 13, 2009.

39. Malin, J. M.; Eliel, E. L. "Latin American Regional Cooperation: Short–Term Visits to US Institutions by Young Latin American Investigators," American Chemical Society, April 26, 2000, Washington, D.C. (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel. International Activities Committee file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).         [ Links ]

40. Malin, J. M.; Eliel, E. L. "Latin American Regional Cooperation: Short–Term Visits to US Institutions by Young Latin American Investigators," American Chemical Society, April 26, 2000, Washington, D.C. (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel. NSF Proposal file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).         [ Links ]

41. Juaristi, E. to Malin, J., personal communication (letter), Mexico City, October 13, 2001 (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel, Mexico file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).

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46. Eliel, E. L. "Re: Distributed Analytical Facilities for Latin America," July 27, 2002, Chapel Hill, NC (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel. ACS Latin America Task Force file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).         [ Links ]

47. Malin, J. to Nelson, C., personal communication (ACS internal memorandum), Directory of Graduate Research, Washington, D.C., February 24, 1994 (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel. 2nd World General – International Activities file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).

48. Eliel, E. to Casey, C., personal communication (e–mail), Dr. Massie's Fax of 10/3, Chapel Hill, NC, October 3, 2000 (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel. Mexico file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).

49. Heindel, N. to Eliel, E. L., personal communication (fax), Bethlehem, PA, August 12, 1999 (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel. Mexico file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).

50. Eliel, E. L. to Heindel, N., personal communication (fax), Chapel Hill, NC, 1999 (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel. Mexico file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).

51. Eliel, E. L. to Contreras, R., personal communication (letter), Chapel Hill, NC, March 17, 2004 (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel. Mexico file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).

52. Eliel, E. L. to Palomo, A. M., personal communication (letter), Chapel Hill, NC, July 17, 1996 (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel. Mexico file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).

53. See http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_ARTICLEMAIN&node_id=1319&content_id=CTP_004545&use_sec=true&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=844de79c–02df–4233–8d5a–f2efefe17b9d; accessed October 26, 2009.

54. See: http://webapps.acs.org/findawards/detail.jsp?ContentId= CTP_004528; accessed October 26, 2009.

55. See http://www.chiral.com/medal.htm; accessed October 26, 2009.

56. Eliel, E. L. to Speakers at symposium honoring E. L. Eliel, personal communication (letter), Chapel Hill, NC, November 7, 1991 (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel, Mexico Symposium (birthday) file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).

57. Eliel, E. L. to Aréchiga U., H., personal communication (letter), Chapel Hill, NC, July 17, 1991 (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel. Mexico file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).

58. Eliel, E. L. to Aréchiga U., H., personal communication (letter), Chapel Hill, NC, October 21, 1991 (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel. Mexico file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).

59. Eliel, E. L. to Contreras, R., personal communication (letter), Chapel Hill, NC, October 21, 1991 (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel. Mexico file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).

60. Eliel, E. L. "Past President Report to [ACS] Council," August 25, 1993, Chapel Hill, NC (Chemical Heritage Foundation, Philadelphia. Records of Ernest L. Eliel. ACS President 1992 file. Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives).         [ Links ]

 

Note

* This article is dedicated to the memory of the author's good friend, colleague and hidden advisor, Ernest L. Eliel (December 28, 1921–September 18, 2008).