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Richard F. Heck (1931-2015), namesake of the Heck Reaction, was an American chemist awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work with palladium to catalyze organic chemical reactions.
Heck was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on August 15, 1931, but his family moved to Los Angeles, California, when he was eight years old. Richard Heck received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles (BS 1952 and PhD 1954). His doctoral work in physical organic chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Saul Winstein was followed by a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
Heck joined the Hercules Powder Co. in Wilmington, Delaware, in 1956, and was prompted by a colleague to "do something with transition metals." The nascent field of organotransition metal chemistry proved to be a worthy direction for Heck's research in "the way you can make all sorts of compounds."
Richard Heck accepted a faculty position in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Delaware in 1971. The research he began in the 1960s resulted in the 1972 publication of "Palladium-catalyzed vinylic hydrogen substitution reactions with aryl, benzyl, and styryl halides" in theJournal of Organic Chemistry (J. Org. Chem. 37 (14): 2320–2322). This work came to be known as the Heck Reaction, foundational to the future of catalytic organometallic bond forming processes currently in use in modern organic synthesis. The Heck Reaction is also known as the "Mizoroki-Heck Reaction," after Tsutomu Mizoroki, who published about palladium catalyzed carbon coupling in 1971. Heck's 1972 publication acknowledged the 1971 Mizoroki publication but included independently discovered work.
Richard Heck rose to the honor of Willis F. Harrington Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, which he also held as Professor Emeritus after his retirement from the University of Delaware in 1989. Recognition of Heck's contributions to the field of chemistry continued in his retirement. In tribute to his career as a scientific innovator who made "outstanding contributions and advances in industrial applications of chemistry," Heck received the Wallace Carothers Award from the Delaware Section of the American Chemical Society in 2005. The American Chemical Society honored Heck's creative research in synthetic methods in 2006 with the Herbert C. Brown Award. In 2011, he received an honorary doctorate in pharmacy from Uppsala University, as well as an honorary doctorate in science from the University of Delaware. De La Salle University in Manila, the Philippines, bestowed an honorary doctorate of humanities on Richard Heck in 2012.
The pinnacle of these accolades, however, was the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which was given to Heck and fellow laureates Akira Suzuki (Hokkaido University) and Ei-Ichi Negishi (Purdue University) for their pioneering research in palladium-catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis.
Richard Heck died on October 9, 2015, in Manila.
"Legacy of Richard Heck," ACS Select virtual issue, accessed December 3, 2018, https://pubs.acs.org/page/vi/heck-legacy?ref=orlef7Feature Richard F. Heck - Biographical. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2018, accessed December 5, 2018, https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/chemistry/2010/heck/biographical/ Richard F. Heck publications. Chemistry Tree, accessed December 3, 2018, https://academictree.org/chemistry/publications.php?pid=52395 "Honorary doctors of the Faculty of Pharmacy," Uppsala University, accessed December 3, 2018, https://www.uu.se/en/about-uu/traditions/prizes/honorary-doctorates/pharmacy/
Richard F. Heck (1931-2015), namesake of the Heck Reaction, was an American chemist awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work with palladium to catalyze organic chemical reactions. The Richard F. Heck papers, 1931-2012, comprise personal documents, photographs, professional honors and citations, publications, and material related to his 2010 Nobel Prize, including his Nobel diploma and a doctoral hat from Uppsala University (2011).
Boxes 1-2: Shelved in SPEC MSS mss (upright mss) Box 3: Shelved in SPEC MSS rcc Box 4: Shelved in SPEC v. MSS mss (1 in) Boxes 5-6: Shelved in SPEC MSS osz 18 DVD: Shelved in SPEC MEDIA DVD
Processed and encoded by L.R. Johnson Melvin, December 2018
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2018 December 10
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Richard F. Heck Nobel diploma, copyright The Nobel Foundation, 2010.
Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library, https://library.udel.edu/static/purl.php?askspec
Signed by parents Frederic A. Heck and Lucile M. Heck; recorded date of birth 1931 August 15.
Includes photographs of childhood, travel in California and the West, parents, graduations, colleagues, and career photographs of working in laboratories.
Presented at the 231st meeting of the American Chemical Society in Atlanta, Georgia, to Richard F. Heck, University of Delaware (retired), "for the development of palladium-catalyzed bond-forming reactions." (Framed item.)
Presented by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry "for outstanding service to the science of chemistry and biochemistry." Cased object (4.5 x 5.5 inch case).
Note: Includes a checklist of patents issued to R.F. Heck, 1961-1971 and two copies of patents: a) United States Patent Number 3,988,358, Process for the preparation of carboxylic acid esters from organic halides, 1976 October 26. b) United States Patent Number 4,128,554, Process for the preparation of carboxylic acid amides from organic Halides), 1978 December 05.
Item laid-in: Announcement of the final examination for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Chemistry, University of California Graduate Division, Southern Section, Friday, July 16, 1954. The program includes an abstract of the dissertation, brief vita, and fields of study with directing faculty.
Brochure for 23d annual Frontiers in Chemistry lectures at Western Reserve University, Cleveland. Richard F. Heck, Research Chemist at Hercules Powder Company, spoke on February 14, 1964, about "Organometal Carbonyl Reactions."
Del-Chem Bulletin is published by the Delaware Section of the American Chemical Society. Cover photograph and page 5-6 announce the 1966 Delaware Section Award to Richard F. Heck.
Brochure for 32d Frontiers in Chemistry lectures at Case Western University, Cleveland, 1972-73. Richard F. Heck, Professor of Chemistry, University of Delaware, spoke on September 28, 1972, about "Applications of Palladium Compounds in Organic Synthesis."
Bulletin 33 is the program of the Robert A. Welch Foundation Conferences on Chemical Research, XVII. Organic-Inorganic Reagents in Synthetic Chemistry, 1973 November 5-7. R.F. Heck spoke on "Synthesis and Reactions of Palladium-Carbon Compounds."
A volume in the Organometallic Chemistry series. Publisher's description laid-in the volume.
Best Synthetic Methods series.
Correspondence and lecture notes (holograph and typescript copies). Letter from Professor Jiro Tsuji, Department of Chemical Technology, Jurashiki University of Science and Arts, Tsurajima, Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan; to Dr. Richard Heck, Naples, Florida, with Heck's reply, 1997 October. Dr. Tsuji invited Dr. Heck to participate in two projects. The first was to speak at a symposium on September 11, 1998, in Japan on "Past and Present of Organopalladium Chemistry." The second request was to accept the dedication of a special issue of theJournal of Organolmetallic Chemistry, which Heck accepted and provided the requested "personal history and research resume" and list of "significant publications of R.F. Heck." The folder also includes paper copies of the overhead transparencies and slide notes for the 1998 presentation.
Inscribed to Heck from the author: "To Richard from a Heck fan. Warm regards from Karl."
"Kunglia Svenska Vetenskapapsakademien har den 6 oktober 2010 beslutat att med det nobelpris som detta har tillerkännes den som gjort den viktigaste kemiska upptackten eller forbattringen gemensamt belona Richard F. Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi och Akira Suzuki for palladiumkatalyserade korskopplingar i organisk syntes. Stockholm den 10 December 2010."
Translation: On 6 October 2010, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided that, with the Nobel Prize, this has been awarded to the one who made the most important chemical uptake or reunion jointly acclaiming Richard F. Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki for palladium-catalyzed cross-connections in organic synthesis. Stocklholm, 2010 December 10.
Illustration, Gebbe Björkman; monogram and calligraphy, Annika Rűcker; bookbindery, Knut Hässlers Bokbinden; bookbinder, Ingemar Dackéus
Presented to Richard F. Heck upon the occasion of receiving the honorary doctorate in pharmacy, 2011. Description of hat: black wool crepe with pleated crown and gros-grain ribbon with buckle in the symbol of the pharmacy. Interior label: Andersson and Co Sweden AB Hattmaker. Farmacie Hedersdoktor Professor Richard F. Heck 2011