Lloyd Conover | November 6, 2017 Issue - Vol. 95 Issue 44 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 95 Issue 44 | p. 43 | Obituaries
Issue Date: November 6, 2017

Obituary: Lloyd Conover

Department: ACS News
Keywords: ACS News, obituaries
Credit: Courtesy of Craig Conover
Photo of Lloyd Conover
Credit: Courtesy of Craig Conover

Lloyd Conover, 93, died on March 11 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

“In 1952, Lloyd invented the broad-spectrum antibiotic tetracycline. This discovery grew from a scientific hunch: Working with a team that had determined the chemical structures of two Pfizer antibiotics, Aureomycin and Terramycin, Lloyd intuited that since the recently deduced chemical structures of these two antibiotics were identical but for one branch of each molecule—an extra chlorine atom in Aureomycin and an additional hydroxyl group in Terramycin—these anomalous branches might be superfluous. He reasoned that if one could remove them, the resulting compound might also be therapeutically active, perhaps more so than the parent drug. Undeterred by skepticism from his colleagues as to the likelihood of success, Lloyd and a lab assistant succeeded on the first try, using an untested technique. I remember Dad coming home with a calm smile that night and happily pronouncing one word: ‘Eureka!’ ”—Kirk Conover, son

Most recent title: senior vice president of agricultural research, Pfizer

Education: B.A., chemistry, Amherst College, 1947; Ph.D., chemistry, University of Rochester, 1950

Survivors: wife, Katharine; daughter, Heather; stepdaughters, Sue Love, Virginia Karpovich, Katharine Meacham, and Laura Keane; sons, Kirk, Roger, and Craig; stepsons, Walter Solomons and Andrew Meacham; 16 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren

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