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article imageBirth control pill inventor passes away

By Tim Sandle     Feb 2, 2015 in Science
Carl Djerassi, who synthesized a hormone that went onto become the basis of the birth control pill, has passed away at age 91.
Carl Djerassi has passed away aged 91 from complications from cancer. He will be best remembered for laying the basis for the invention of the birth control pill.
Djerassi began his academic career through gaining a degree from Kenyon College in Ohio. He then went on to gain a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1945. After a period of time, he moved into industry, joining the pharmaceutical company Ciba (now Novartis). Later he spent time at Syntex in Mexico City, where he made his pioneering discoveries on cortisone, menstrual disorders, and cancer.
Djerassi moved to Wayne State University in 1952, then to Stanford University in 1959. He retired from Stanford in 2002. Among his many accolades, in 1973 Djerassi was awarded the National Medal of Science. He was awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 1991.
Speaking with The Guardian in 2000, Djerassi reflected on his long career and especially his association with birth control. Here he said: “Yes, I am proud to be called the father of the pill. But identifying scientists is really only a surrogate for identifying the inventions or discoveries. Maybe it is true that Shakespeare’s plays would never have been written if it wasn’t for Shakespeare. But I’m certain that if we didn’t do our work, then someone else would have come along shortly afterwards and done it.”
Late last year, as Marcus Hondro reported, Professor Djerassi caused controversy by stating that sex will one day become redundant as all women need to do is to turn to in vitro fertilization (IVF) to get pregnant.
According to The New York Times, Djerassi was a strong supporter of the arts. He was also a published author of science fiction and playwright.
More about Carl Djerassi, the pill, Hormones, Women, Pregnancy
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