Myron L. Bender

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Myron Lee Bender (1924–1988) was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He obtained his B.S. (1944) and his Ph.D. (1948) from Purdue University. The latter was under the direction of Henry B. Hass. After postdoctoral research under Paul D. Barlett (Harvard University), and Frank H. Westheimer (University of Chicago), he spent one year as a faculty member at the University of Connecticut. Thereafter, he was a professor of Chemistry at Illinois Institute of Technology in 1951, and then at Northwestern University in 1960. He worked primarily in the study of reaction mechanisms and the biochemistry of enzyme action. Myron L. Bender demonstrated the two-step mechanism of catalysis for serine proteases, nucleophilic catalysis in ester hydrolysis and intramolecular catalysis in water. He also showed that cyclodextrin can be used to investigate catalysis of organic reactions within the scope of host-guest chemistry. Finally, he and others reported on the synthesis of an organic compound as a model of an acylchymotrypsin intermediate.

During his career, Myron L. Bender was an active member of the Chicago Section of the American Chemical Society. He was elected a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford University, and to the National Academy of Sciences, the latter in 1968. He received an honorary degree from Purdue University in 1969. He was the recipient of the Midwest Award of the American Chemical Society in 1972.

Professor Bender retired from Northwestern in 1988. Both he and his wife, Muriel S. Bender, died that year. The Myron L. Bender & Muriel S. Bender Distinguished Summer Lectures in Organic Chemistry was established in their honor in 1989 and continues to be hosted by Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University.

Bender Distinguished Summer Lecturers[edit]

Lecturer --- Year --- Affiliation
Frederick M. Menger 1989 Emory University
Julius K. Rebek 1990 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Martin Newscomb 1991 Texas A&M University
JoAnne Stubbe 1992 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Peter B. Dervan 1993 California Institute of Technology
Marye Anne Fox and James K. Whitesell 1994 University of Texas
Richard Lerner 1995 Scripps Research Institute
Jan W. Verhoeven 1996 The University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Eric N. Jacobsen 1997 Harvard University
Larry E. Overman 1998 University of California, Irvine
Ronald Breslow 1999 Columbia University
Jean Fréchet 2000 University of California, Berkeley
Dale Boger 2001 Scripps Research Institute
Andrew Hamilton 2002 Yale University
Barbara Imperiali 2003 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
François Diederich 2004 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich)
Erick M. Carreira 2005 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich)
Klaus Müllen 2006 Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research
Ben L. Feringa 2007 University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Christopher Walsh 2008 Harvard Medical School
Stephen L. Buchwald 2009 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Paul Wender 2010 Stanford University
Kendall N. Houk 2011 University of California, Los Angeles
Tom Muir 2012 Princeton University


Myron L. Bender published five books and over 230 research papers over his lifetime. He published at least 32 peer-reviewed papers while at Northwestern. Some of the most highly cited are:


Northwestern University Department of Chemistry Brochure for the Myron L. Bender & Muriel S. Bender Distinguished Summer Lectures in Organic Chemistry, 2009.

Frank H. Westheimer, Myron L. Bender, in Biographical Memoirs, the National Academy of Sciences (includes photograph of Prof. Bender, last accessed November 28, 2009,

External links[edit]