Carl Djerassi

Chemist Carl Djerassi

Profession: Chemist

United States of America

Biography: Carl Djerassi was a scientist, chemist and author, born in Austria, setting in the US in 1939, to escape Nazi persecution in Europe.

Djerassi is most famous for creating the first synthesis of an oral contraceptive pill in 1951, while working for Syntex. A discovery that was to have widespread social ramifications throughout the rest of the 20th century.

Djerassi continued to make major contributions to the field of organic chemistry, including develop the use of antihistamines.

In later life Djerassi became an author, writing novels, plays and his autobiography.

Born: October 29, 1923
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria

Generation: Greatest Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Pig
Star Sign: Scorpio

Died: January 30, 2015 (aged 91)

Married Life

  • 1985-06-21 Chemist Carl Djerassi (61) weds biographer and teacher Diane Middlebrook (46) at his ranch

Historical Events

  • 1951-10-15 First synthesis of an oral contraceptive (norethindrone) made by Luis E. Miramontes under direction of Carl Djerassi and George Rosenkranz at Mexican drug company Syntex
  • 1960-06-23 1st contraceptive pill is made available for purchase in the U.S.
  • 1961-12-04 The female contraceptive 'pill' becomes available on the National Health Service in Britain

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