John Cornforth

John Conforth
Born September 7, 1917 (1917-09-07) (age 90)
Sydney, Australia
Nationality Australian
Fields Chemist
Institutions University of Sussex
Alma mater University of Sydney
St Catherine's College, Oxford
Known for Stereochemistry of enzyme-catalyzed reactions
Notable awards Corday-Morgan medal (1949)
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1975) (with Vladimir Prelog)
Royal Medal (1976)
Copley Medal (1982)

Sir John Warcup 'Kappa' Cornforth FRS (born 7 September 1917), is a scientist who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1975 for his work on the stereochemistry of enzyme-catalyzed reactions. He has been profoundly deaf since his teens.

Cornforth was born in Sydney, Australia, educated at Sydney Boys High School and Sydney University (from 16 years of age) where he met his wife Rita Harradence. He studied organic chemistry and graduated with first-class honours and a University medal in 1937. He won a scholarship to study at St Catherine's College, Oxford, and moved there with Rita.

Cornforth had a profound influence on the work on penicillin during the war. He helped to write The Chemistry of Penicillin (Princeton University Press, 1949), He received his Nobel Prize with Vladimir Prelog in 1975 and was knighted in 1977. He was awarded the Corday-Morgan medal in 1953, Royal Medal in 1976 and the Copley Medal in 1982.

He is a member of the Royal Society and is still very active in chemistry research at the University of Sussex. This section from longer archive recordings shows his warmth and personality, and gives an insight into an amazing man who has overcome deafness to pursue a brilliant career in science. He was awarded the Australian of the Year in 1975.


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