For what is Robert Burns Woodward famous?

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Robert Burns Woodward (1917-1979) was an American chemist whose work in organic chemistry would earn him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1965 along with numerous honorary doctorates from prestigious universities including Wesleyan and Harvard, in addition to numerous other honors including the Pius XI Gold Medal from the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Order of the Rising Sun from the Emperor of Japan, and the Roger Adams medal from the American Chemical Society.

Woodward's major contributions in the field of organic chemistry included his work in synthesizing organic compounds that lead to the development of penicillin and other life-saving antibiotics, and his deconstruction of strychnine, cholesterol, chlorophyll and cortisone all contributed to the much greater understanding of these substances and how they interact with the human body.  He was considered the leading chemist in synthesizing substances and mapping their molecular structure, with his research leading to the understanding of vitamin B12 and its importance to human health.

Robert Burns Woodward was one of this country's most brilliant scientists, and his research and analysis continue to benefit mankind today.


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