Nobel laureate in chemistry Ei-ichi Negishi dies at 85
Ei-ichi Negishi was born on July 14, 1935 in Changchun, China, then called Hsinking, the capital of a part of the nation under Japanese control in the northeast. His family moved to Tokyo after (* 85 *) World War II, then to a rural area outside Tokyo, where his father farmed and his mother looked after the family’s 5 children.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Tokyo in 1958, he worked as an analytical chemist at the Iwakuni research laboratories in Japan. From his account, he realized he wanted additional educational support, but felt the university was financially out of reach.
His fortunes changed, however, in 1960, when he received a Fulbright scholarship to attend the University of Pennsylvania. After completing his doctorate in 1963, he joined the laboratory of Herbert C. Brown at Purdue. Dr. Brown became the principal member of Purdue College to win a Nobel Prize in 2004; Dr Negishi was the second.
“In terms of research, he’s my only mentor,” Dr Negishi said of Dr Brown in an interview after the Nobel Prize was announced. “I had other professors, but he taught me pretty much everything about how to do research.”
Dr Negishi moved to Syracuse University as an assistant professor in 1972 and returned to Purdue in 1979 as a professor. He retired in 2019, having written over 400 scientific papers.
In 2010, Dr Negishi, who remained a Japanese citizen, was awarded the Order of Culture from Emperor Akihito. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2014.
The survivors embrace two daughters, 4 grandchildren and a great granddaughter. His 58-year-old wife, Sumire, died in 2018.