Charles Pedersen received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Charles Pedersen, Nobel Laureate
DuPont Chemist, Charles Pedersen, Nobel Laureate

Early in 1967, a paper from Charles J. Pedersen, a chemist at the DuPont Experimental Station, landed on the desk of the editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. In it, Pedersen reported the discovery of a novel class of chemical compounds called macrocyclic polyethers, which he dubbed the "crown"ethers because of their molecular shape. Twenty years later, the Nobel foundation called to tell Charles Pedersen that he would share the 1987 Nobel Prize for chemistry.

The Blockbuster

Crown Ether

Charles Pedersen’s monumental paper represented more than five years of laboratory work accomplished entirely by Pedersen with the assistance of a single technician, Ted Malinowski. Although Pedersen later published several follow-up papers, his original article, "Cyclic Polyethers and Their Complexes with Metal Salts" [J. Am. Chem. Soc. 89, 7017 (1967)] became known to colleagues simply as "the blockbuster". Over the next two decades chemists built on this discovery, and in August 1987 a symposium on crown ethers was held in Japan in Pedersen’s honor.

Commenting at the time, former chairman Richard E. Heckert called Charlie, as he was known to friends, a "chemist's chemist - a man of unusual curiosity and keen ability to see simple solutions to complex problems, often when others missed them."

In hindsight, it is easy to believe that Pedersen was destined to make some phenomenal discovery. Read more about Charles J. Pedersen, DuPont’s first Nobel Laureate, in the attached file. Biography, Charles Pedersen