Carl Djerassi

1998 William Procter Prize for Scientific Achievement

Stanford University chemistry professor anddjerassi novelist Carl Djerassi is widely known as the inventor of the birth control pill and is also known for his effectiveness in translating scientific knowledge into technological practice, as well as for his efforts to promote international scientific cooperation. As a junior chemist with the Swiss pharmaceutical firm Ciba, Djerassi was part of the team credited with discovering the antihistamine Pyribenzamine. It was while at a Syntex lab in Mexico City that he directed the synthesis of the first oral contraceptive for women in 1951. The author of more than 1,200 scientific publications and seven monographs, Djerassi is one of only a few scientists to receive both the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology. A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Djerassi has for the past decade turned to creative writing, inventing a genre he calls "science-in-fiction," whereby he illustrates, in the guise of realistic fiction, the human side of scientists and the personal conflicts they face in their quest for knowledge, recognition and financial reward.