Dennis P. Curran apologizes for the crowded and windowless temporary room where he's stationed himself. His own office is also here on the 12th floor of the University of Pittsburgh's chemistry building - right next door, in fact - but it's being remodeled. An open door reveals vast expanses and new carpeting. Until it's ready, Curran must take shelter in a small, snug space surrounded by makeshift piles of papers and books. Yet, oddly enough, these quarters seem to suit him better than the plush office being readied for him. Like Curran, this room is approachable and unassuming, unpretentious and inviting.

Admittedly, organic chemists might not have the same opportunity to be lionized as some of their colleagues in science; chemistry rarely grabs the headlines these days from such fields as superconductivity and molecular biology. Nevertheless, Curran is a modest man who has every reason not to be. A two-part...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?