2009 Cava Lecture: Jerrold Meinwald


When the Chemistry is Right: Violence, Sex, and Drugs in the World of Insects
4:00 PM, Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
1093 Shelby Hall
(General Interest Talk)

Exploring the Chemistry of Biotic Interactions
12:45 PM, Thursday, October 29th, 2009
1093 Shelby Hall
(Technical Talk)

Musical Performance
12:00 PM, Friday October 30th, 2009
Moody Music Building Recital Hall


Jerrold Meinwald, Goldwin Smith Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at Cornell University, was born in New York, NY in 1927.  He was educated at the University of Chicago (Ph.B. 1947, B.S. 1948) and at Harvard (M.A. 1950, Ph.D. 1952), where he worked with R.B. Woodward.  In 1952, a DuPont Fellowship brought him to Cornell, where he has spent most of his subsequent career.  He was a member of the group of scientists who founded the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Nairobi, and served as an ICIPE Research Director from 1970 to 1977.  He is a founding member of CIRCE (the Cornell Institute for Research in Chemical Ecology) and of the Center for Energy, Environment, and Biodiversity in Manaus, Brazil.
Dr. Meinwald’s research has covered a very broad range of topics, including molecular rearrangement mechanisms, the synthesis and reactions of highly strained ring systems, organic photochemistry, natural product structure and synthesis, anesthetic stereochemistry, and insect chemical ecology.

He has been a Visiting Professor at the Harvard Medical School, the Rockefeller University, and at the University of California, San Diego.  He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences (1969), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1970), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1980), the American Philosophical Society (1987), Sigma Xi, and Phi Beta Kappa, and has held two J.S. Guggenheim Fellowships (1960-61; 1976-77).  He has served as a Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (1983), and as a Fogarty Scholar-in-Residence at the NIH (1983-85).  He was a member of the review committee for the Center of Excellence program at the National Institute of Sericulture and Entomological Sciences, Tsukuba, Japan (1996-2001).  He received the A.C.S. Ernest Guenther Award for research on essential oils and related natural products in 1984, and an A.C. Cope Scholar Award in 1989.  He was elected President of the International Society of Chemical Ecology in 1988.  In 1989, he was awarded an honorary Ph.D. by the University of Göteborg.

Dr. Meinwald served as a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, California (1990-91).  He was awarded the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement in 1990, and the Gustavus John Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest (Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society) in 1991.  The International Society of Chemical Ecology awarded him its Silver Medal in 1991.  He has served three terms as a National Sigma Xi Lecturer (1965, 1975, 1992-94).  The Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic awarded him the Heyrovsky Medal in 1996.  He has received the 2005 Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry from the American Chemical Society, and the 2006 GRAND PRIX from La Maison de la Chimie in Paris.  He is currently on the Editorial Boards of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), Chemistry & Biodiversity, and the Journal of Chemical Ecology. He has been Secretary of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2004.

Music is Dr. Meinwald’s chief recreational activity.  He studied flute with Arthur Lora (NY) and with James Pappoutsakis and Marcel Moyse (Boston).