Eminent chemist to discuss primordial genetic materials in annual Bunnett Lecture on Friday, May 4

Albert Eschenmoser

The renowned organic chemist Albert Eschenmoser will give the 2007 Joseph F. Bunnett Research Organic Chemistry Lecture on Friday, May 4. Eschenmoser's lecture, "The Search for Potentially Primordial Genetic Materials," will take place at 5 p.m. in the Baskin Engineering Auditorium.

Eschenmoser is a professor emeritus of organic chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and research professor at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. In his talk, he will give a survey of experimental efforts toward a chemical etiology of nucleic acid structure and discuss recent results of a search for potentially primordial informational oligomer systems.

Eschenmoser is best known for his many contributions to synthetic methodology, structure elucidation, synthesis of natural products, physical organic chemistry, and, more recently, experiments on the etiology of nucleic acids aimed at an understanding of the chemical criteria by which nature chose nucleic acids as its genetic code. Among his contributions to natural products chemistry, his stereochemical interpretation of the biogenetic isoprene rule is particularly well known.

Perhaps his overall most outstanding achievement has been the total synthesis (with R. B. Woodward) of vitamin B12, a molecule of incredible complexity and, at the time, the Holy Grail of synthetic chemistry.

For additional information about this lecture, please call the Chemistry Department at (831) 459-4823.