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Lewis Hastings Sarett

Lewis Hastings Sarett
BornDecember 22, 1917
DiedNovember 29, 1999(1999-11-29) (aged 81)
OccupationOrganic chemist
Spouse(s)Mary Adams Barrie (m. March 1, 1944 - div.June 28, 1969)
Pamela Thorp
ChildrenMary Nicole and Katharine Wendy (1st wife)
Will H. and Renee M. (2nd wife)

Lewis Hastings Sarett (December 22, 1917 – November 29, 1999) was an American organic chemist. While serving as a research scientist at Merck & Co., Inc., synthesized cortisone.


He was born in Champaign, Illinois. His father was renowned Jewish poet and professor Lew Sarett,[1] and he was also an uncle of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.[2] He lived in Laona, Wisconsin for a time and then attended high school in Highland Park, Illinois . He received a Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University in 1939 (Phi Beta Kappa) and his doctorate from Princeton University.

He worked for Merck & Co. for 38 years retiring in 1982. He invented a Process of Treating Pregnene Compounds Cortisone, Patent Number 2,462,133.

Named after him is the Sarett Oxidation which is the oxidation of an alcohol to a ketone or an aldehyde using chromic oxide and pyridine. Primary alcohols will be oxidised to aldehydes and not carboxylic acids.

Honors and awards


  1. ^ []
  2. ^ []
  3. ^ "Chemical Pioneer Award". American Institute of Chemists. Retrieved 30 November 2015.

External links