Eugene van Tamelen

Eugene Earle van Tamelen
Born (1925-07-20)July 20, 1925
Zeeland, Michigan
Died December 12, 2009(2009-12-12) (aged 84)
Residence United States
Citizenship United States
Fields Organic chemistry
Institutions University of Wisconsin, Stanford University
Alma mater Harvard University
Doctoral advisor Gilbert Stork
Doctoral students K. Barry Sharpless

Eugene Earle van Tamelen (July 20, 1925 December 12, 2009) was an organic chemist who is especially recognized for his contributions to bioorganic chemistry.[1]

Van Tamelen published five papers while an undergraduate at Hope College.[2] He conducted graduate work at Harvard University, receiving his doctorate in 1950 with Gilbert Stork as his advisor. He began his academic career at the University of Wisconsin, later joining the faculty of Stanford University, where he spent the majority of his career. Among his many students was Nobelist K. Barry Sharpless.

He pioneered in what is today called biomimetic synthesis. He was the first to identify squalene oxide as a precursor in the biosynthesis of cholesterol.[3] Van Tamelen was also the first to synthesise Dewar benzene. He developed a system for nitrogen fixation using titanocene.[4]

van Tamelen was also the owner of the first Marshall Erdman-built Frank Lloyd Wright-designed pre-fabricated house, commonly known as the "Eugene van Tamelen House".[5]

In 1981, van Tamelen became a founding member of the World Cultural Council.[6]

Eugene van Tamelen died of cancer in 2009.


Among his awards, he received the ACS Award in Pure Chemistry in 1961 and was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences.


  1. Chang, Kenneth (December 29, 2009). "Eugene van Tamelen, 84, Dies; Chemist Inspired by Nature". The New York Times. Retrieved December 31, 2009.
  2. Van Tamelen, Eugene E.; Van Zyl, Gerrit (1949). "Malonic ester reaction with 1-halo nitro paraffins". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 71: 835–7. doi:10.1021/ja01171a020.
  3. E. E. van Tamelen "The Role of Organic Synthesis in Bioorganic Chemistry" Pure Appl. Chem., 1981, Vol. 53, No. 6, pp. 1259-1270. doi:10.1351/pac198153061259.
  4. Van Tamelen, Eugene E (1970). "Design and development of an organic-inorganic system for the chemical modification of molecular nitrogen under mild conditions". Accounts of Chemical Research. 3: 361–7. doi:10.1021/ar50035a001.
  5. Eugene Van Tamelen House (Erdman Prefab I), retrieved April 18, 2012
  6. "About Us". World Cultural Council. Retrieved November 8, 2016.

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