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  • Professor Samuel H. Gellman
    04/12/18 - 9:45 AM to 11:00 AM

    Gassman Lectureship #3: Professor Samuel H. Gellman

    Paul G. Gassman Lectureship in Chemistry

"A Meditation on Purity in Organic Chemistry"

The history of organic chemistry is, in part, a history of techniques for purifying specific compounds from complex mixtures. Obtaining a pure material, and establishing that the material was pure, constituted an essential prelude to identifying and characterizing the compound. A focus on compound purity persists today; purity is a critical criterion in the development of new drugs. However, there are many chemical and biological situations in which useful function can be achieved with and may even require a mixture rather that a pure compound. Accepting mixtures as functional chemical entities may lead to new opportunities for organic chemists pursuing real-world applications.

Professor Gellman

Professor Samuel Gellman is the Ralph F. Herschmann Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned his A.B. degree from Harvard University, and his doctorate from Columbia University. He also was a post-doctorate fellow at the California Institute of Technology. His honors and awards include the Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry from the American Chemical Society, the Makineni Lecture Award from the American Peptide Society, and being named a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Research in Professor Gellman's laboratory encompasses the design, synthesis and evaluation of new types of molecules intended to display interesting structures and useful functions. In addition, researchers in his group seek to understand how proteins, the most diverse class of biomolecules, perform their natural functions. Research efforts require a range of experimental tools, including asymmetric organic synthesis, polymer synthesis, solid-phase peptide synthesis, high-resolution NMR and crystallographic analysis of molecular structure, protein expression biochemical assays, and cell-based assays. Our research program is highly collaborative.

In honor of Regents Professor Paul G. Gassman

Regents Professor Paul G. Gassman died in April 1993, at the age of 57. He was internationally known in the chemical community, and left behind a legacy of achievement. During his career, he served as mentor and adviser to 85 doctoral and master’s candidates as well as dozens of postdoctoral associates and undergraduate students. Numerous awards, honors, and honorary degrees were bestowed in recognition of his contributions to research and his service to the scientific, professional, and university communities. Some of these awards include election to the National Academy of Sciences (1989) and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1992); the James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry (1985); Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award (1986); and the National Catalyst Award of the Chemical Manufacturers Association (1990). He served as president of the American Chemical Society in 1990. He was co-chair of the organizing committees of the National Organic Symposium (1991) and the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research meeting (1992), on the University of Minnesota campus. It was his wish that a lectureship be established to bring distinguished organic chemists to the Department of Chemistry. 

  • Event Details

    Location: 331 Smith Hall
    Host: Professor Will Pomerantz
    • Professor Samuel H. Gellman
    • Samuel Gellman
    • Department of Chemistry
    • University of Wisconsin-Madison