Cornforth, Sir John Warcup

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Sir John Warcup Cornforth (wôr´kəp côrn´fərth), 1917–2013, Australian chemist, Ph.D. Oxford, 1941. Although Cornforth suffered a hearing loss from childhood and was deaf by the time he graduated from college, he was aided in communicating by his wife and co-researcher Rita Harradence. His main affiliations were with the National Institute for Medical Research in London (1946–62), the Milstead Laboratory of Chemical Enzymology of Shell Research, Ltd. (1962–75), where he was co-director, and the Univ. of Sussex (1975–82); he continued his researches at the Univ. of Sussex after his retirement, working into his late eighties. In 1975 he and Vladimir Prelog were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their efforts to relate molecular structure to the properties of chemical compounds. Cornforth's work was on the chemical reactions (and the role of enzymes in them) that produced squalene, the chemical precursor of many steroids. Cornforth was knighted in 1977.