Lewis Hastings Sarett


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.

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)


He was born in Champaign, Illinois. His father was Lew Sarett, a renowned Jewish poet and professor[1] and 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.

Writing CareerEdit

He is also famous for writing the poem The Four Little Foxes to raise awareness about animal rights.[3]

Honors and awardsEdit


  1. ^ "Archives".
  2. ^ "Donald Rumsfeld on Rumsfeld's Rules | Milt Rosenberg".
  3. ^ https://www.all-creatures.org/poetry/ar-fourlittle.html
  4. ^ "Chemical Pioneer Award". American Institute of Chemists. Retrieved 30 November 2015.

External linksEdit

  • Lewis Hastings Sarett December 22, 1917–November 29, 1999 By Arthur A. Patchett
  • Inventors hall of fame
  • http://www.todayinsci.com/12/12_22.htm
  • New York Times Obituary, December 27, 1999.