David A. Evans

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David A. Evans
Born(1941-01-11)January 11, 1941
Alma materCalifornia Institute of Technology
Scientific career
FieldsSynthetic organic chemistry
InstitutionsUniversity of California, Los Angeles; California Institute of Technology; Harvard University
Doctoral advisorRobert E. Ireland
Doctoral studentsErick M. Carreira

David A. Evans (born 1941) is the Abbott and James Lawrence Professor Emeritus in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University.[1][2] He is a prominent figure in the field of organic chemistry and his research focuses on synthetic chemistry and total synthesis, particularly of large biologically active molecules. Among his best-known work is the development of aldol reaction methodology (for example, Evans' acyl oxazolidinone method).[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Evans was born on January 11, 1941, in Washington, D.C.. He received his A.B. from Oberlin College in 1963, where he worked with Norman Craig.[4] He began his graduate work at the University of Michigan with Robert E. Ireland, but moved with the Ireland group to the California Institute of Technology and received his Ph.D. from Caltech in 1967.[1][2][4]

Academic career[edit]

Evans began his independent research career at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he joined the faculty in 1967 and became a full professor in 1974. He then moved to the California Institute of Technology and remained there until 1983, when he moved again to Harvard University - a decision he later described as difficult.[4] He was appointed the Abbott and James Lawrence Professor of Chemistry in 1990, served as chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology from 1995 to 1998, and retired from the faculty, assuming professor emeritus status, in 2008.[1][2]


Evans has made many scholarly contributions to the field of organic chemistry.[4] Although he is best known for his work on the aldol reaction, he has also developed methodology for anionic oxy-Cope rearrangements, metal catalyzed hydroborations, and catalytic, enantioselective reactions based on bis-oxazoline (box) ligands. The Evans–Saksena reduction[5][6] and Evans–Tishchenko reaction take their names from him.[7] He is also well-known for preparing a set of unpublished though widely disseminated lecture notes for Chemistry 206, a graduate-level organic chemistry course at Harvard.[8]

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "David A. Evans - Curriculum Vitae". Harvard University. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "David Evans". Harvard University. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Diastereoselective Aldol Condensation Using a Chiral Oxazolidinone Auxiliary: (2S,3S)-3-Hydroxy-3-Phenyl-2-Methylpropanoic Acid". Organic Syntheses. 68: 83. 1990. doi:10.15227/orgsyn.068.0083.
  4. ^ a b c d Evans, David A. (1999). "A view from the far side. Memorable characters and interesting places". Tetrahedron. 55 (29): 8589–8608. doi:10.1016/s0040-4020(99)00436-6.
  5. ^ Saksena, Anil; Mangiaracina, Pietro (1983). "Recent studies on veratrum alkaloids: a new reaction of sodium triacetoxyborohydride [NaBH(OAc)3]". Tetrahedron Letters. 24 (3): 273–276. doi:10.1016/S0040-4039(00)81383-0.
  6. ^ Evans, David; Chapman, K.; Carreira, E. (1988). "Directed reduction of β-hydroxy ketones employing tetramethylammonium triacetoxyborohydride". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 110 (11): 3560–3578. doi:10.1021/ja00219a035.
  7. ^ Evans, David; Hoveyda, Amir (1990). "Samarium-catalyzed intramolecular Tishchenko reduction of β-hydroxy ketones. A stereoselective approach to the synthesis of differentiated anti 1,3-diol monoesters". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 112 (17): 6447–6449. doi:10.1021/ja00173a071.
  8. ^ Evans, David A. (2006). "Harvard's Advanced Organic Chemistry". Internet Archive. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  9. ^ "David Evans". National Academy of Sciences Member Directory. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry or Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry". Elsevier. Archived from the original on 9 September 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  11. ^ "Arthur C. Cope Award". ACS. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  12. ^ "Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry". ACS. Retrieved 6 November 2017.