Lewis Hastings Sarett

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Lewis Hastings Sarett
Born December 22, 1917
Champaign, Illinois
Died November 29, 1999 (81)
Viola, Idaho
Occupation Organic chemist
Spouse(s) Mary Adams Barrie (m. March 1, 1944 - div.June 28, 1969)
Pamela Thorp
Children Mary Nicole and Katharine Wendy (1st wife)
Will H. and Renee M. (2nd wife)

Lewis Hastings Sarett (December 22, 1917 – November 29, 1999) was an American organic chemist.


He was born in Champaign, Illinois. He lived in Laona, Wisconsin for a time. Attended high school in Highland Park, Illinois . He received a Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University in 1939 (Phi Beta Kappa) and his doctorate from Princeton University. He was inducted in the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1980, the same year he was awarded the IRI Medal from the Industrial Research Institute for his contributions to technology leadership. He worked for Merck & Co. for 38 years retiring in 1982. He invented a Process of Treating Pregnene Compounds Cortisone, Patent Number 2,462,133.

Named after him is the Sarett Oxidation which is the oxidation of an alcohol to a ketone or an aldehyde using chromic oxide and pyridine. Primary alcohols will be oxidised to aldehydes and not carboxylic acids.

Among the awards he received were the Scheele Award in 1964, National Medal of Science in 1975 and the Perkin Medal in 1976.

He was an uncle of Donald Rumsfeld.[1]


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