On Quantifying Chirality


On Quantifying Chirality


Kurt Mislow


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(Abstract taken from the 1990-91 DSLS Program).

Kurt Mislow is Hugh Stan Taylor Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus. at Princeton University.

Professor Mislow was born in Berlin, earned his B.S. from Tulane University (1944), and obtained his Ph.D. under the direction of Linus Pauling at the California Institute of Technology (1947). He then joined the faculty of New York University where he remained for seventeen years, rising to the rank of full professor. In 1967 he was appointed to the Hugh Stott Taylor Professorship in Chemistry at Princeton end served as chairman of the department (1968—1974). Since 1988 he has been Hugh Stott Taylor Professor of Chemistry Emeritus, at Princeton, where he is continuing his research activities.

Dr. Mislow has been a Sloan Fellow (1959—63) and has held two Guggenheim Fellowships: one in 1956 at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zürich, where he worked with V. Prelog, and another in 1974 at the University of Cambridge, where he was also an Overseas Fellow of Churchill College.

Professor Mislow has been awarded honorary degrees by the Free University of Brussels, Tulane, and the University of Uppsala. He has delivered numerous named lectures in the United States and abroad. Among his more recent awards are the Prelog Medal (1986) and the William H. Nichols Medal (1987). He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1972 and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1974. He has served on the editorial advisory boards of seven journals, including the Journal of Organic Chemistry and Accounts of Chemical Research. His book, Introduction to Stereochiemistry (1965), was the first text to develop the major principles of stereochemistry based on symmetry and group theory, and has been translated into German and Japanese.

His work: The dominant theme in Mislow's research has been the development of stereochemical theory. Professor Mislow's early work culminated in the first general method for establishing the absolute configurations of Optically active biphenyls. He went on to study the stereochemistry of atropisomers and of sulfur and phosphorus compounds. His more recent work has focused on the novel stereoisomerism that is the result of correlated rotation in molecular propellers and cogwheels.



Creation Date

March 16, 1991

On Quantifying Chirality