K.C. Nicolaou Classes

Office Hours

Chem 151
Molecules that Changed the World
January 8 – March 19, 2013

TUESDAYS:  11:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.
Pacific Hall, Room 6100A,

THURSDAYS: 11:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.
Beckman Center, Room 405, The Scripps Research Institute

Professor K.C. Nicolaou – kcn@scripps.edu

Teaching Assistant: Derek Rhoades – drhoades@scripps.edu


Molecules that Changed the World

January 8, 2013 March 19, 2013*

Tuesdays and Thursdays: 12:30 P.M. 1:50 P.M.

*Final Exam: Tuesday, March 15, 11:30 A.M. 2:30 P.M., (location to be announced)

Room: York Hall, Room 2622

University of California, San Diego

Syllabus CHEM 151 (download)


Abstract (download)


Study Guide Sample Questions (download)


Links to Exams:

2009 Midterm Exam

2009 Midterm Exam – Answer Key

2009 Final Exam

2009 Final Exam – Answer Key

2010 Midterm Exam

2010 Midterm Exam – Answer Key

2010 Final Exam

K.C. Nicolaou, PhD


Short Curriculum Vitae

K.C. Nicolaou was born on July 5, 1946, in Cyprus where he grew up and went to school until the age of 18. In 1964, he went to England where he spent two years learning English and preparing to enter the University. He studied chemistry at the University of London (B.Sc., 1969, Bedford College, First Class Honors; Ph.D. 1972, University College, with Professors F. Sondheimer and P.J. Garratt). In 1972, he moved to the United States and after postdoctoral appointments at Columbia University (1972-1973, Professor T.J. Katz) and Harvard University (1973-1976, Professor E.J. Corey) he joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania, where he rose through the ranks to become the Rhodes-Thompson Professor of Chemistry. In 1989, he accepted joint appointments at the University of California, San Diego, where he is Professor of Chemistry, and The Scripps Research Institute where he is the Chairman of the Department of Chemistry and holds the Skaggs Professorship of Chemical Biology and the Darlene Shiley Chair in Chemistry.

His awards and honors include an A.P. Sloan Fellowship (1979), a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (1980), the American Chemical Society Philadelphia Section Award (1983), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1984), a Humboldt Foundation US Senior Scientist Prize (1987), an A.C. Cope Scholar Award, American Chemical Society (1987), the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Award (1988), the Alan R. Day Award, Philadelphia Organic Chemists' Club (1993), the American Chemical Society Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry (1993), a Pfizer Research Award in Synthetic Organic Chemistry (1994), the Dr. Paul Janssen Prize for Creativity in Organic Synthesis (1994), the Alexander the Great Award, the Hellenic Cultural Society of San Diego (1994), the Rhone-Poulenc Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry (London) (1995), the William H. Nichols Medal, New York Section-American Chemical Society (1996), the Inhoffen Medal of the Gesellschaft fur Biotechnologische Forschung mbH (GBF) (1996), the Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products, American Chemical Society (1996), the Chemical Pioneer Award of the American Institute of Chemists (1996), the Linus Pauling Award, Oregon, Portland, Puget Sound Sections-American Chemical Society (1996), the Distinguished Scientist Award, San Diego Section-American Chemical Society (1997), the Decoration of the Order of the Commander of Honor Medal (bestowed by the President of Greece, 1998), the American Chemical Society Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest (1998), the Headliner of the Year Award from the San Diego Press Club (1998), the Yamada Prize, (Japan, 1999), the first Aspirin Prize for Solidarity through Chemistry (Spain, 1999), the Max Tishler Prize, Harvard University (2000), the Paul Karrer Gold Medal, Universitat Zurich, Switzerland (2000), the Royal Society of Chemistry Centenary Medal (U.K., 2000-2001), the Ernst Schering Prize, Ernst Schering Research Foundation (2001), the Nagoya Gold Medal of Organic Chemistry, Nagoya University, Japan (2001), the Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry (2002), the ACS Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry (2003), the Aristeio Bodossaki Prize, Bodossaki Foundation, Greece (2004), ACS Arthur C. Cope Award (2005), Auburn Section-American Chemical Society Auburn-G. M. Kosolapoff Award (2006), the Burkardt-Helferich Prize (2006),ISHC Senior Award in Heterocyclic Chemistry (2007), August-Wilhelm-von-Hofmann-Denkmünze Award (2008), the Charles Chandler Medal, Columbia University (2008), the Lampousa Lifetime Achievement Award (Cypriot American Association) (2009), Member, Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels (2009), and San Diego BioPharma Achievement Award (2009), Lampousa Lifetime Achievement Award (Cypriot American Association) (2009), Science Award, Ministry of Education and Culture, Cyprus (2010), Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry, The Franklin Insitute (2011).

Nicolaou is a Member of the New York Academy of Sciences (1987), a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1993) a Member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA (1996), a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1999), and Foreign Member, Academy of Athens, Greece (2001), and holds honorary degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (M.A., 1980), the University of London (D.Sc., 1994), the University of Athens (Ph.D. Honoris causa, 1995), the University of Thessaloniki, Greece (Ph.D., Honoris causa, 1996), the University of Cyprus (Ph.D., Honoris causa, 1997), the Universidad de Alcala, Madrid, Spain (Ph.D., Honoris causa, 1998), the University of Crete, Greece (1998), the Agricultural University of Athens (Ph.D. Honoris causa, 2000), the University of Patras, Greece (Ph.D., Honoris causa, 2002), and the University of Rome “La Sapienza” (Ph.D., Honoris causa, 2004). He was elected Honorary Foreign Member of the Japanese Pharmaceutical Society (1996), an Honorary Professor of the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, China (1999), Honorary Fellow, Chemical Research Society of India (2004), Honorary Fellow, Indian Academy of Sciences (2007), Honorary Membership, Israel Chemical Society (2009), Member, German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (2009), Member, Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels (2009), and Member, American Philosophical Society (2011).

K.C. Nicolaou's research interests focus on chemical synthesis and chemical biology. He is the author or co-author of over 725 publications, over 67 patents, and 5 books, the most recent entitled Classics in Total Synthesis with co-author Erik J. Sorensen (1996), Classics in Total Synthesis II with co-author Scott A. Snyder (2003), Molecules That Changed the World with co-author Tamsyn Montagnon (2008), and Classics in Total Synthesis III with co-author Jason S. Chen (2011). His dedication to chemical education is evidenced by his training of almost 400 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

Molecules That Changed the World, K.C. Nicolaou and T. Montagnon,
Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, Germany, 2008.

Molecules cover

Contents (download)


About the author: K.C. Nicolaou (download)


About the co-author: Tamsyn Montagnon (download)


Sample Chapter (download)


The Scripps Reserach Institute

Classics in Total Synthesis


Professor K.C. Nicolaou and Professor Ryan Shenvi

January 4, 2011 March 15, 2011

Tuesdays and Thursdays: 10:00 A.M 11:30 A.M.

The W.M. Keck Foundation Amphitheater

Beckman Center for Chemical Sciences

The Scripps Research Institute

Syllabus Classics in Total Synthesis (download)



Office Hours


K.C. Nicolaou
Short CV

Classics in Total Synthesis

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