CHEMISTRY: Playing Chess with Nature

A master builder of life's complex molecules CHEMISTRY

Whatever glamour there is these days in organic chemistry -- the study of the complex, carbon-based molecules that are the basis of life -- adheres mostly to the genetic engineers, those futuristic scientists who turn living cells into tiny factories for drugs and other substances. But the fact is that most pharmaceutically useful compounds are made the old-fashioned way, by combining reagents in a laboratory flask. Last week the Royal Swedish Academy returned to the roots of the science. Elias James Corey, 62, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, is an organic chemist's chemist, a master of the art of...

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