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Synthesis

Why Merrifield was honored

November 6, 2006 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 84, ISSUE 45

Correction

Oct. 9, page 56. In our attempts to win the Ig Nobel Physics Prize, the Newscripts gang has been experimenting with time travel. This caused us to refer to the 2007 Ig Nobel Prizes in a story about the 2006 Ig Nobel Prizes. We apologize for the error and assure you that next year's Ig Nobels meet the standards C&EN readers have come to expect. The article posted on C&EN Online (www.cen-online.org) has been corrected.

The letter from Leonard Greiner in appreciation of Bruce Merrifield is interesting, but he is wrong in stating that Merrifield received the Nobel Prize for the synthesis of DNA (C&EN, Aug. 21, page 6). The 1984 prize was awarded "for his development of methodology for chemical synthesis on a solid matrix," which derived from his pioneering work on the solid-phase synthesis of peptides. He later demonstrated the power of this technique with his synthesis of the enzyme ribonuclease (124 amino acid residues).

Merrifield couldn't have imagined that his solid-phase approach would later be applied to the whole new area of combinatorial synthesis. Merrifield merits recognition as a giant in the field of organic synthesis, yet he was one of the most modest men I have known.

Anthony B. Mauger
Kensington, Md.

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