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Eugene LeGoff

by Susan J. Ainsworth
May 10, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 19

Eugene LeGoff, 75, an emeritus professor of organic chemistry at Michigan State University, died of cancer on March 10.

Born in Passaic, N.J., LeGoff received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1956 from Rutgers University, where he was a Henry Rutgers Scholar. He then earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Cornell University in 1959.

As a postdoctoral student at Harvard University, LeGoff was a member of the team in R. B. Woodward’s lab that tackled the total synthesis of chlorophyll. He helped conduct the crucial ring cyclization of chlorophyll’s porphyrin precursor.

LeGoff then began his career as a member of the research staff of the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research, in Pittsburgh. He joined the faculty at Michigan State University in 1965 as an associate professor, becoming a full professor in 1978. During a sabbatical in 1971, he worked with Franz Sondheimer at Imperial College London.

LeGoff’s research, which focused on heterocycles, led to the publication of more than 60 papers. LeGoff was known for synthesizing various substituted porphyrins and expanding macrocycles containing pyrroles and thiophenes. He was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1957.

He is survived by his wife, Betsy; a son; and two granddaughters.


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