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Co-founder of chemical ecology celebrates 90 years

By: Yvette Lisa Ndlovu,  AS Communications
July 27, 2017

Colleagues are planning a symposium in August to celebrate the birthday of Jerrold Meinwald, Goldwin Smith Professor of Chemistry Emeritus, who turned 90 in January. The symposium will take place during the meeting of the International Society of Chemical Ecology in Kyoto, Japan.  

Between 400-500 attendees are expected at the symposium, which include talks by chemical ecology researchers and a chamber music recital by Meinwald (alto recorder), his wife, Charlotte Greenspan (harpsichord), along with two Kyoto friends, Toyoko Ogumi (flute) and Keiko Nagano (cello).

Meinwald is best known for his work on chemical ecology, a field he co-founded with his colleague and friend Thomas Eisner, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Chemical Ecology, who died in 2011. Meinwald was awarded the National Medal of Science at the White House in 2012, the nation’s highest honor for achievement in science and engineering.

Meinwald’s research has involved the isolation, identification, and synthesis of biologically active defensive and communicative compounds from insect and other arthropod sources, and identification of messenger molecules involved in plant/insect interactions.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1969, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1970), and the American Philosophical Society (1987), Meinwald’s awards include the 2014 Nakanishi Prize of the Chemical Society of Japan; the 2013 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry and the 2008 Grand Prix of la Maison de la Chimie, among others.

Meinwald received his master’s (1950) and Ph.D. (1952) degrees from and Harvard University and his bachelor’s (1948) and Ph.B. (1947) from the University of Chicago.

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