Marjorie Constance Caserio

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Marjorie Constance Caserio
Born (1929-02-26) February 26, 1929 (age 89)
Cricklewood, London
Nationality British
Citizenship American
Alma mater Chelsea College of Art and Design, Bryn Mawr College
Known for Basic Principles of Organic Chemistry
Spouse(s) Fred Caserio
Awards Garvan Medal
Scientific career
Fields chemistry
Institutions University of California, Irvine, University of California, San Diego

Marjorie Constance Caserio (born February 26, 1929)[1] is an American chemist. In 1975, she was awarded the Garvan Medal by the American Chemical Society.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Caserio was born Marjorie Constance Beckett in Cricklewood, London, England. She attended the North London Collegiate School and began studying podiatry at Chelsea College, but soon developed a preference for chemistry and graduated with honors in the subject in 1950. She was awarded a Sir John Dill Fellowship by the English-Speaking Union which allowed her to study at Bryn Mawr College in the United States and she earned an MA in chemistry in 1951. Her thesis was "The alkaline hydrolysis of ethyl p-alkybenzoates."[1]

For a year she worked at the Fulmer Research Institute in rural Stoke Poges, researching the effects of fluorides on titanium, but disliked the work and decided to seek her PhD in chemistry. She interviewed with Nobel laureate Derek Barton and was accepted to Birkbeck College, but without financial aid, so she returned to Bryn Mawr. She earned her PhD in 1956. Her dissertation was "The bromination of naphthalene."[1]

She was hired by John D. Roberts for a postdoctoral position at the California Institute of Technology. She spent nine years at Caltech, working on 3 and 4 membered carbocyclic ring compounds, the reactions of alcohols with diazomethane, the hydrolysis of diaryliodonium salts, the deanimation of nitrous acid, and benzyne reaction intermediates in nucleophilic substitution. She collaborated with Roberts in writing an organic chemistry textbook, Basic Principles of Organic Chemistry, first published in 1964. Notable for its comprehensiveness and then-unusual emphasis on spectroscopy, it proved enormously influential in how the subject was taught. Also working with Roberts was chemist Fred Caserio. In 1957, she married Caserio; she became a US citizen the same year.[1]

In 1964, she was hired as the second faculty member in chemistry at the brand new University of California, Irvine. At UC Irvine she worked on addition reactions in allenes and bonding and reactions of sulfur compounds. She was one of the first scientists to employ nuclear magnetic resonance and ion cyclotron resonance to study these areas. She became a full professor at UC Irvine in 1972 and chair of the chemistry department in 1987.[1]

In 1990, she became vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of California, San Diego. She later served as interim chancellor and retired in 1996.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Goldwhite, Harold (1993). "Marjorie Constance Beckett Caserio". In Grinstein, Louise S.; Rose, Rose K.; Rafailovich, Miriam H. Women in Chemistry and Physics: A Biobibliographic Sourcebook. Greenwood Press. pp. 85–93.
  2. ^ Oakes, Elizabeth H. (2007). Encyclopedia of world scientists , Volume 1. InfoBase. p. 125. Retrieved July 12, 2011.


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