Professor Emeritus David A. Evans, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA, has passed away on April 29, 2022. Evans was a prominent organic chemist, well-known for his work on total synthesis and the development of new reactions. For example, he is known for the use of chiral oxazolidinones (Evans’ oxazolidinones) as effective chiral auxiliaries. Chiral auxiliaries are chiral groups that are temporarily bound to an organic compound to control the stereochemistry of a reaction and then removed.
David A. Evans was born on January 11, 1941, in Washington, D.C., USA. He studied chemistry at Oberlin College, OH, USA, and at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA, USA, where he received his Ph.D. in 1967. Evans joined the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA, in 1967 as Assistant Professor of Chemistry. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1972 and to Full Professor in 1974. From 1974 to 1983, he served as Professor of Chemistry at Caltech, and in 1983, Evans joined Harvard University as Professor of Chemistry. From 1990 to 2008, he served as Abbott and James Lawrence Professor of Chemistry there and from 1995 to 1998, he was Chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Evans remained at Harvard University until his retirement in 2008.
Among many other honors, Evans received the ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry in 1982 from the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Pfizer Research Award for Synthetic Organic Chemistry from Pfizer, Inc. in 1992, the Tetrahedron Prize in 1998, the Robert Robinson Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), UK, in 1998, the Prelog Medal from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Switzerland, in 1999, the Ryoji Noyori Prize from the Society of Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Japan, in 2006, the Arthur C. Cope Award from the ACS in 2000, and the ACS Award for Creativity in Molecular Design and Synthesis in 2010.
He was a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
- Catalytic Enantioselective Pyrrole Alkylations of α,β-Unsaturated 2-Acyl Imidazoles,
David A. Evans, Keith R. Fandrick,
Org. Lett. 2006, 8, 2249–2252.
- Scope and Mechanism of Enantioselective Michael Additions of 1,3-Dicarbonyl Compounds to Nitroalkenes Catalyzed by Nickel(II)−Diamine Complexes,
David A. Evans, Shizue Mito, Daniel Seidel,
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2007, 129, 11583–11592.
- Enantioselective Friedel−Crafts Alkylations Catalyzed by Bis(oxazolinyl)pyridine−Scandium(III) Triflate Complexes,
David A. Evans, Keith R. Fandrick, Hyun-Ji Song, Karl A. Scheidt, Risheng Xu,
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2007, 129, 10029–10041.
- Enantioselective Nitrone Cycloadditions of α,β-Unsaturated 2-Acyl Imidazoles Catalyzed by Bis(oxazolinyl)pyridine−Cerium(IV) Triflate Complexes,
David A. Evans, Hyun-Ji Song, Keith R. Fandrick,
Org. Lett. 2006, 8, 3351–3354.
- Asymmetric Synthesis of Salvinorin A, A Potent κ Opioid Receptor Agonist,
Jonathan R. Scheerer, Jonathan F. Lawrence, Grace C. Wang, David A. Evans,
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2007, 129, 8968–8969.
- Total Synthesis of (+)-Azaspiracid-1. An Exhibition of the Intricacies of Complex Molecule Synthesis,
David A. Evans, Lisbet Kværnø, Travis B. Dunn, André Beauchemin, Brian Raymer, Jason A. Mulder, Edward J. Olhava, Martin Juhl, Katsuji Kagechika, David A. Favor,
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2008, 130, 16295–16309.
- History of the Harvard ChemDraw Project,
David A. Evans,
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 11140–11145.
- Diastereoselective Aldol Condensation Using a Chiral Oxazolidinone Auxiliary: (2S*, 3S*)-3-Hydroxy-3-phenyl-2-methylpropanoic Acid,
James R. Gage, David A. Evans,
Org. Synth. 1990, 68, 83.
I am very sad to know that Professor David passed away. It’s a considerable loss for the humanity in the field of chemistry and the students who are following his path. My condolence to his family and his colleagues for this loss.