Robert R. Williams
|Robert Runnels Williams|
|Born||February 16, 1886|
Nellore, British India
|Died||October 2, 1965 (aged 79)|
Summit, New Jersey
|Alma mater||University of Chicago|
|Known for||Synthesis of thiamine.|
|Awards||Willard Gibbs Award (1938)|
Elliott Cresson Medal (1940)
Perkin Medal (1947)
|Institutions||Bell Telephone Laboratories|
Robert Runnels Williams (February 16, 1886 – October 2, 1965) was an American chemist, known for being the first to chemically fully characterize and then synthesize thiamine (vitamin B1). He first isolated thiamine in 1933, and synthesized vitamin B1 in 1935, reporting this in 1936. Williams also provided the modern name "thiamine" from the molecule's sulfur atom, and it being a vitamin (a class ultimately named for the earlier-known amine of thiamine itself).
He was born in Nellore, India to Baptist missionaries. He moved to the United States when he was ten. In the early 1900s, Williams studied at Ottawa University and eventually procured a master's degree at the University of Chicago in 1908. He then spent some time teaching in the Philippines. After returning to the United States, he worked for Bell Telephone Laboratories from 1915, until he retired in 1945.
- 1933-4 - developed a way of isolating 1/3 an ounce of thiamine from a ton of rice polishings.[chronology citation needed]
- 1935 - Worked out its molecular structure and named it "thiamine" from its sulfur atom 
- 1935 - Synthesized thiamine (vitamin B1), reporting the work in 1936.
- Williams, R.R. and Cline, J.K. (1936). Synthesis of vitamin B1. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 58: 1504-1505.
- Asimov, Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 2nd revised edition
- Staff. "ELIZABETH HOWELL ENGAGED TO MARRY; Ex-Student at Hewlett School to Be Bride of Fergus Reid Buckley, Who Is at Yale Abrams--Rubin Williams--Wiederspahn", The New York Times, January 20, 1951. Accessed February 19, 2011.
- thiamine name