Derek Harold Richard Barton
Overview
 
Sir Derek Harold Richard Barton FRS
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 (8 September 1918 – 16 March 1998) was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 organic chemist and Nobel Prize laureate.
Barton was born to William Thomas and Maude Henrietta Barton. He attended Tonbridge School
Tonbridge School
Tonbridge School is a British boys' independent school for both boarding and day pupils in Tonbridge, Kent, founded in 1553 by Sir Andrew Judd . It is a member of the Eton Group, and has close links with the Worshipful Company of Skinners, one of the oldest London livery companies...

 and in 1938 he entered Imperial College London
Imperial College London
Imperial College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom, specialising in science, engineering, business and medicine...

, where he graduated in 1940 and obtained his Ph.D.
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 degree in Organic Chemistry
Organic chemistry
Organic chemistry is a subdiscipline within chemistry involving the scientific study of the structure, properties, composition, reactions, and preparation of carbon-based compounds, hydrocarbons, and their derivatives...

 in 1942. From then to 1944 he was a government research chemist, from 1944 to 1945 he was with Albright and Wilson
Albright and Wilson
Albright and Wilson was founded in 1856 as a United Kingdom manufacturer of potassium chlorate and white phosphorus for the match industry. For much of its first 100 years of existence, phosphorus-derived chemicals formed the majority of its products....

 in Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

.
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Encyclopedia
Sir Derek Harold Richard Barton FRS
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 (8 September 1918 – 16 March 1998) was a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 organic chemist and Nobel Prize laureate.

Biography

Barton was born to William Thomas and Maude Henrietta Barton. He attended Tonbridge School
Tonbridge School
Tonbridge School is a British boys' independent school for both boarding and day pupils in Tonbridge, Kent, founded in 1553 by Sir Andrew Judd . It is a member of the Eton Group, and has close links with the Worshipful Company of Skinners, one of the oldest London livery companies...

 and in 1938 he entered Imperial College London
Imperial College London
Imperial College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom, specialising in science, engineering, business and medicine...

, where he graduated in 1940 and obtained his Ph.D.
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 degree in Organic Chemistry
Organic chemistry
Organic chemistry is a subdiscipline within chemistry involving the scientific study of the structure, properties, composition, reactions, and preparation of carbon-based compounds, hydrocarbons, and their derivatives...

 in 1942. From then to 1944 he was a government research chemist, from 1944 to 1945 he was with Albright and Wilson
Albright and Wilson
Albright and Wilson was founded in 1856 as a United Kingdom manufacturer of potassium chlorate and white phosphorus for the match industry. For much of its first 100 years of existence, phosphorus-derived chemicals formed the majority of its products....

 in Birmingham
Birmingham
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London, with a population of 1,036,900 , and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom with a...

. He then became assistant lecturer in the Department of Chemistry of Imperial College, and from 1946 to 1949 he was ICI
Imperial Chemical Industries
Imperial Chemical Industries was a British chemical company, taken over by AkzoNobel, a Dutch conglomerate, one of the largest chemical producers in the world. In its heyday, ICI was the largest manufacturing company in the British Empire, and commonly regarded as a "bellwether of the British...

 Research Fellow. During 1949 and 1950 he was Visiting Lecturer in the Chemistry of Natural Products, at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

, and was then appointed Reader in Organic Chemistry and, in 1953, Professor at Birkbeck College
Birkbeck, University of London
Birkbeck, University of London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and a constituent college of the federal University of London. It offers many Master's and Bachelor's degree programmes that can be studied either part-time or full-time, though nearly all teaching is...

. In 1955 he became Regius Professor
Regius Professor
Regius Professorships are "royal" professorships at the ancient universities of the United Kingdom and Ireland - namely Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Dublin. Each of the chairs was created by a monarch, and each appointment, save those at Dublin, is approved by the...

 of Chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

 at the University of Glasgow
University of Glasgow
The University of Glasgow is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Scotland's four ancient universities. Located in Glasgow, the university was founded in 1451 and is presently one of seventeen British higher education institutions ranked amongst the top 100 of the...

, in 1957 he was appointed Professor of Organic Chemistry at Imperial College.

In 1950, Professor Barton showed that organic molecules could be assigned a preferred conformation
Conformational isomerism
In chemistry, conformational isomerism is a form of stereoisomerism in which the isomers can be interconverted exclusively by rotations about formally single bonds...

 based upon results accumulated by chemical physicists, in particular by Odd Hassel
Odd Hassel
Odd Hassel was a Norwegian physical chemist and Nobel Laureate.-Biography:Born in Kristiania, his parents were Ernst Hassel, a gynaecologist, and Mathilde Klaveness. In 1915, he entered the University of Oslo where he studied mathematics, physics and chemistry, and graduated in 1920...

. Using this new technique of conformational analysis, he later determined the geometry of many other natural product molecules. In 1969, Barton shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Odd Hassel
Odd Hassel
Odd Hassel was a Norwegian physical chemist and Nobel Laureate.-Biography:Born in Kristiania, his parents were Ernst Hassel, a gynaecologist, and Mathilde Klaveness. In 1915, he entered the University of Oslo where he studied mathematics, physics and chemistry, and graduated in 1920...

 for "contributions to the development of the concept of conformation and its application in chemistry."

In 1958 Prof. Barton was Arthur D. Little Visiting Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

, and in 1959 Karl Folkers Visiting Professor at the Universities of Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 and Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

. In 1960 he was Visiting Professor at the University of California (Berkeley), spending much of his time with the W.H. Dauben Group. The same year he was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

.
In 1954 he was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 and the International Academy of Science, in 1956 he became Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
Royal Society of Edinburgh
The Royal Society of Edinburgh is Scotland's national academy of science and letters. It is a registered charity, operating on a wholly independent and non-party-political basis and providing public benefit throughout Scotland...

; in 1965 he was appointed member of the Council for Scientific Policy. He was knighted in 1972 but chose to be known as Sir Derek only in Britain. In 1978 he became Director of the Institut de Chimie des Substances Naturelles
Institut de Chimie des Substances Naturelles
The Institut de Chimie des Substances Naturelles is part of the Centre national de la recherche scientifique, France's most prominent public research organization. It is located at Gif-sur-Yvette, near Paris....

 (ICSN - Gif Sur-Yvette) in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

.

In 1986 he became Distinguished Professor at Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University is a coeducational public research university located in College Station, Texas . It is the flagship institution of the Texas A&M University System. The sixth-largest university in the United States, A&M's enrollment for Fall 2011 was over 50,000 for the first time in school...

 and held this position for 12 years until his death.

As well as for his work on conformation, his name is remembered in a number of reactions in organic chemistry such as the Barton reaction
Barton reaction
The Barton Reaction involves the photolysis of a nitrite to form a δ-nitroso alcohol. It is named for the British chemist Sir Derek Harold Richard Barton...

, the Barton decarboxylation
Barton decarboxylation
The Barton decarboxylation is a radical reaction in which a carboxylic acid is first converted to a thiohydroxamate ester . The product is then heated in the presence of a radical initiator and a suitable hydrogen donor to complete the reductive decarboxylation of the initial carboxylic acid...

, and the Barton-McCombie deoxygenation
Barton-McCombie deoxygenation
The Barton–McCombie deoxygenation is an organic reaction in which an hydroxy functional group in an organic compound is replaced by a hydride to give an alkyl group . It is named for the British chemists Sir Derek Harold Richard Barton and Stuart W. McCombie.This deoxygenation reaction is a...

.

He married three times, and had a son by his first marriage. He died in College Station, Texas
College Station, Texas
College Station is a city in Brazos County, Texas, situated in East Central Texas in the heart of the Brazos Valley. The city is located within the most populated region of Texas, near three of the 10 largest cities in the United States - Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio...

.

External links

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