Martius yellow

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From:RSRICHMOND@aol.com
To:histonet@pathology.swmed.edu
Reply-To:
Date:Fri, 8 Oct 1999 10:30:15 EDT
Content-Type:text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Several people have asked me to post my yarn about Martius Yellow (C.I. 
10315) on the list. I didn't post it before because I didn't think it was of 
much general interest, but here it is.

I had the great good fortune to take college organic chemistry (at Harvard in 
1957) from Louis Fieser, probably the greatest teacher of organic chemistry 
of his day. The course had an annual voluntary contest - I regret I didn't 
participate - I was very depressed that season) - to synthesize Martius 
yellow in record time. 

Dr. Fieser had made a teaching film of himself doing the synthesis, which I'd 
love to see again - Harvard might resurrect it onto the Internet some day 
when resources for handling movies are a bit better than they are now - 
knowing the Harvard archives, I'm sure they have a copy. - The cost of making 
such films was astronomical in those days before videotape - I recall his 
responding to someone's criticism that the film didn't include handling the 
glassware with "We didn't want to spend $26,000 a minute to show me washing 
funnels."

Louis and Mary Fieser did groundbreaking work in steroid chemistry and 
synthesis, while he taught an organic chemistry course that I think was 
probably the best science course I ever took (including medical school 
courses). They were also great Siamese cat fans - there's a picture of a 
Siamese cat somewhere in every one of their books.

Gotta brag now - my daughter Miranda just started as a freshman at Harvard - 
in the same freshman dorm I lived in in 1955!

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN



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