(Continued)


Robin Goldsmith, vice president of communications

Fortunately, someone from TSRI's security department woke me before 6 AM. After the initial sense of excitement and delight, I rushed into the office, knowing that there would be a great deal of work to do, materials to prepare, media inquiries to respond to, etc. When I arrived, there were some 15 voice mail messages from reporters—mainly from the East Coast, but also from all over the world. We coordinated our efforts with Dr. Sharpless's office and sent a media advisory to the local press, announcing a news conference for 11 AM. I must give enormous credit to my staff as well as to Dr. Sharpless's, especially Laureen Stav. Within a few short hours, news releases were written, press kits were assembled, inquiries were responded to, information was posted on TSRI's web site, efforts were coordinated and organized. At 11 AM, Dr. Sharpless stepped into the media glare, and did an absolutely wonderful job of explaining his work and its significance, as well as [sharing] his generosity of spirit and excitement about the discovery process with all those in attendance. He continued to be exceedingly patient and available to members of the media and well-wishers throughout the day.

This was such a wonderful event in the life of the institute, for which we all owe Dr. Sharpless a huge debt of gratitude. I think that TSRI staff and employees took great pride in participating in such a celebratory and exciting occasion.


Jeffery Kelly, vice president for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies

[That Barry Sharpless won the Nobel Prize was] wonderful and fitting news given the tremendous impact that Barry's reactions continue to have on academic and industrial research. [It was] also a great day for the Scripps community, [TSRI President] Richard Lerner, and our donors, in that it shows what can be done with creative leadership coupled with philanthropy and the hard work of imaginative scientists.

 


Khanh Nguyen, Human Resources employee representative in charge of recruiting support services personnel

[Human Resources Manager] Ellen [Anderson] came in and told us. That day, [Employment Representative] Kelly Kehoe, [Senior Employment Representative] Linda Kauffmann, [Employment Assistant] Melanie Brittle, and I were at a job fair at UCSD [the University of California, San Diego]. There was a big crowd around us all day. We had brought three bins of material about TSRI and we ran out of everything in an hour. We were swamped.

We've been seeing more resumes submitted to us from people around the world. It's awesome. In fact, I just received a resume from a former employee here who wrote in her cover letter that she was reminded of TSRI by the Nobel Prize. She remembered it was a good place to work, filled with people of the highest caliber, and now she's submitting her resume. That is great for TSRI.


K.C. Nicolaou, chair of the Department of Chemistry

I think I learned of the Nobel Prize announcement before almost anyone else at Scripps. I was in London and it was morning there. On Tuesday, the day before the announcement, I was having dinner with some colleagues, and they asked me who I thought might be this year's winner. And I mentioned Sharpless, Noyori, and Knowles. Sure enough, the next day I called up my sister, who is a manager in a bank in London, and asked her to look at the web and call me back. Five minutes later the phone rang and she started reading to me, "William Knowles, Ryoji Noyori..." And I said, "Barry Sharpless." And she said "yes." That was the first time I heard about it. It was maybe 4 AM Pacific Time. I was ecstatic.

On Tuesday, the day before, I also called up [Administrative Manager] Vicky [Nielsen] and told her, "In case Barry wins tomorrow throw a big party." It was so clear in my mind that he is extremely deserving of the Prize and it was just a matter of time. The whole department is very happy for him. This department is only 12 years old and we have our first Nobel laureate. Who knows, there may be more...

The revolution of asymmetric synthesis, as we know it today, owes a lot to Sharpless and the others who share the Nobel Prize this year. Because of these developments in asymmetric synthesis, we have chemical processes by which we can produce compounds in their correct absolute stereochemistry. This is extremely important for the drug discovery process and the manufacturing of drugs, because, often, it is necessary to have only one of the two enantiomers of the drug since the other may have either diminished or no activity or may even have a deleterious effect. The discovery of asymmetric epoxidation made by Barry Sharpless has truly revolutionized chemical synthesis as we practice it today.

The Nobel Prize is the ultimate recognition that the scientific community can bestow on one of its members. Barry was clearly headed this way and we're delighted that he was finally honored in this way. We now have a better place to work and be inspired. I think Scripps is now recognized, beyond any doubt, as a top research institution in the world, especially in chemistry. We are absolutely delighted to share in Barry's joy that this prize must bring to him and to his family. We are all proud of him and feel fortunate to be associated with him as colleagues in the same department.


Julius Rebek, director of The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology

I was in the shower. When I got out of the shower, I heard the voice mail being left on our recorder from a common acquaintance, a Professor Pinot Pilotti of Stockholm University.

So I called Barry right away, and miraculously I got through. I thought "there is no way"—I thought I would have to walk over there to see him because I live very close. I got through, I talked to him, and I called my parents, since my mother had met Barry on a couple of occasions and was charmed by him, as you could imagine. So my mother called him and got right through.

It has finally happened. We've been hoping for this for quite awhile; it could have happened any time in the last ten years. If you read up on the technical aspects of it, the key Sharpless discovery was made around 1980, and it influenced research tremendously in the 1980s and 1990s.

I've had acquaintances—Donald J. Cram, Jean-Marie Lehn, George A. Olah, Roald Hoffmann—who have won the Nobel Prize. But to have one of your close friends win... it makes for a great week. Especially if he is your colleague. And I don't want to speculate, but I think this won't be the last time somebody in The Skaggs Institute wins one.

 


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