Mieczyslaw Makosza


Honorary Degree (1989)
Doctor of Science
Location: Indianapolis
Presenter: Thomas Ehrlich


Mieczyslaw Makosza has earned an international reputation for his contributions in chemistry. The originality of his work ranks him as one of the leading organic chemists of his generation. In particular, his pioneering research on phase transfer catalysis established him as a "founding father" of this important field. His discoveries have led to significant new directions for industrial and pharmaceutical chemistry. The technique he developed for phase transfer catalysis has the practical value of simplicity, enabling chemical transformations of value in organic synthesis to be carried out without specialized apparatus and expensive reagents. More recently, he has turned his research attention to the field of nucleophilic aromatic substitution processes, where his work promises to provide further important theoretical and practical contributions to synthetic and mechanistic organic chemistry.

Dr. Makosza was born at Cieszewla, Poland. He received the B.S. from the University of Rostow, U.S.S.R., in 1955, and the M.Sc. from the University of Leningrad the following year. He continued his graduate work at Technical University in Warsaw, where he was awarded the Ph.D. in 1963 and the D.Sc. in 1967. He spent 1971 as a postdoctoral fellow with G. A. Russell at Iowa State University. Dr. Makosza began his academic career as a teaching assistant at Technical University in 1956. In 1963 he became docent in chemistry and was appointed professor of chemistry in 1967. Since 1979 he has served as director of the Institute of Organic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences and in 1986 was elected a corresponding member of the academy.

Among other honors, he was awarded the Kostanecki Medal in 1979, the A. Junykowski Foundation Award in 1987, and the State Prize, First Degree, in 1988. Dr. Makosza's work has directly benefited the research programs of virtually every major synthetic organic chemist around the world. In addition to a book on organic synthesis, his extensive published work includes 170 primary publications in international journals, and 20 review articles and monograph chapters. He is a frequently invited lecturer at international conferences and symposia and served as visiting professor of chemistry at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis in 1988-1989.

An outstanding and creative investigator, Dr. Makosza has made elegant, innovative contributions that illustrate the application of the theory of physical organic chemistry to practical and synthetic processes. He is an equally outstanding teacher, who inspires in his students a zest for chemistry and for knowledge and reason.