Mirror of Chemistry


is the birthday of Vladimir Prelog, a pioneer in stereochemistry, the field that studies how the chemical properties of molecules are affected by the three-dimensional arrangements of their atoms.

Prelog was born in 1906 in Sarajevo, in what is now Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was an organic chemistry professor at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, from 1942 to 1976, where he carried out research on alkaloids, antibiotics, enzymes, and other organic compounds. He contributed greatly to the understanding of stereoisomers, molecules that come in two mirror-image forms called left- and right-handed, with different chemical properties. For this work, Prelog shared the 1975 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with John Cornforth.

Prelog also helped formulate a standard international nomenclature, known as CIP, for describing complex organic compounds. He died in January 1998.

[Source: Britannica Online]