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Donald J. Cram
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June 25, 2001
Volume 79, Number 26
CENEAR 79 26 pp. 10
ISSN 0009-2347
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UCLA Nobel Prize winner leaves a rich legacy in host-guest chemistry


After more than 50 years of research at the University of California, Los Angeles, Donald J. Cram died of cancer on June 17 at the age of 82. Cram shared the 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and was honored nationally and internationally for his work.

"Dr. Cram was extraordinarily creative--a man of integrity and honesty who was an excellent example to all of his students," said M. Frederick Hawthorne, Cram's fifth Ph.D. student and currently University Professor of Chemistry at UCLA. "He was a true giant in the chemical sciences."

Cram shared the 1987 Nobel Prize with Jean-Marie Lehn of Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg, France, and Charles Pedersen, a chemist at DuPont. His work opened the fields of host-guest chemistry and "carceplex" chemistry.

During his first year as an undergraduate at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., a chemistry professor told Cram he did not have the mind for research. Cram viewed the comment as a challenge. After earning a B.S. degree from Rollins in 1941 and a master's in 1942 from the University of Nebraska, Cram earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Harvard University in 1947 and began his career at UCLA.

Cram was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.

His awards included the American Chemical Society's Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry and the National Academy of Sciences Award in the Chemical Sciences. He received the ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry and the ACS Arthur C. Cope Award, and he was named one of Chemical & Engineering News's Top 75 Contributors to the Chemical Enterprise in 1998. Cram held numerous honorary degrees from universities all over the world.

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