This month Professor Eun Lee, Seoul National University, Korea, will celebrate his 65th birthday and his retirement. Professor Lee has made outstanding contributions in synthetic organic chemistry and in natural product synthesis and is highly respected the world over.
Lee gained his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Seoul National University in 1969 and his Ph.D. from Yale University, USA, in 1974 under the supervision of Ian Scott. He spent a period of postdoctoral study with Koji Nakanishi, Columbia University, USA, before joining the Zoecon Corporation as a research fellow. In 1977, Lee joined the faculty at Seoul National University where he has remained until now.
Lee’s research has focused on the selectivity of organic reactions. This has led him to explore radical cyclizations, chirality transfer in oxy-Cope rearrangements, the “remote functionalization” of steroids, and to develop new chiral rhodium complexes for enantioselective carbenoid insertion and addition reactions. These methodologies have allowed him to achieve the synthesis of a range of natural products including dendrolasin, (3S)-homomevalonolactone, (Z)-13-eicosen-10-one, γ-lactams, rose furan, guaiazulenes, (+)-dihydromayurone, (±)-savinin and (±)-gadain, to name a few.
He currently serves on the International Advisory Board of Chemistry–An Asian Journal. As a part of his birthday and retirement celebrations, and as a tribute to Professor Lee′s illustrious career, Chemistry–An Asian Journal has dedicated a special issue to him. It includes 40 invited contributions from top scientists throughout the world and an editorial by Paul Wender, Stanford University, USA, detailing Eun Lee’s career.