Can you combine a high-powered career in chemical cascade research with a mountaineering hobby and still have time to form human bonds? Sure, if you rope colleagues into both adventures.
Emory’s Albert Padwa (above at Mount Rainer in 1984) gives a perspective of his 48-year career in a recent issue of the Journal of Organic Chemistry. The cover (see below) was designed by Emory chemist Stefan Lutz and features Annapurna, Nepal, the site of Padwa's latest climb.
What makes for excellence in science? “To me, it’s pushing out into completely new territory,” Padwa says.
Here’s an excerpt from the JOC article:
“I associate the top of mountains with success, achievement and freedom. In contrast, the lower part of the mountain possesses many obstacles and challenges which need to be overcome. This is really not so different from bringing a chemical project to fruition and getting it published…
“Because of the rate at which they increase molecular intricacy, cascade reactions have received considerable attention from my research team over the past 25 years. The development of sequences that combine transformations of differing fundamental mechanisms broadens the scope of such procedures in synthetic chemistry and provides me with continuing challenges for reaching an ‘ideal summit.’”