October 11, 1882-October 3, 1960
BY GRANT URRY
IT IS A CONSIDERABLE pleasure for me to have been asked to comment on the life and career of my mentor. There are among his more than fifty former graduate students more distinguished scientists, but it is unlikely that any among them remembers their tenure in the laboratories of Dr. Schlesinger with more gratitude or greater fondness than I. At the outset it should be said that my memory has been greatly aided by information furnished through the kind efforts of Ms. Joan Shiu of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Chicago and Dr. Elizabeth J. Sherman at the National Academy of Sciences.
One of the outstanding chemists of this century, Professor Schlesinger's greatest contribution to his chosen profession was the discovery of the borohydrides and the aluminohydrides. He devised simple, high-yield syntheses of these classes of compounds, making them available as uniquely valuable reducing agents, particularly for various functional groups in organic compounds. Without the ready availability of lithium borohydride and lithium aluminohydride the current state of medicinal chemistry and molecular biology would undoubtedly be severely retarded.
He would have viewed the students he trained as his greatest contribution. It is true that among this select group are