Abbreviated Biographical Sketch


Carl Djerassi, emeritus professor of chemistry at Stanford University, is one of two American chemists to have been awarded both the National Medal of Science (for the first synthesis of a steroid oral contraceptive--”the Pill”) and the National Medal of Technology (for promoting new approaches to insect control). A member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society (London) as well as the Leopoldina and many other  foreign academies, Djerassi has received 34 honorary doctorates together with numerous other honors, such as the first Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the first Award for the Industrial Application of Science from the National Academy of Sciences, the Erasmus Medal of the Academia Europeae, the Perkin Medal of the Society for Chemical Industry, the American Chemical Society’s highest award, the Priestley Medal, the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, and the Great Merit Cross of Germany. An Austrian postage stamp with his image was issued in 2005.


For the past quarter century, he has turned to fiction writing, mostly in the genre of “science-in-fiction,” whereby he illustrates, in the guise of realistic fiction, the human side of scientists and the personal conflicts faced by scientists in their quest for scientific knowledge, personal recognition, and financial rewards. In addition to a poetry collection (A Diary of Pique), a short story collection ("How I beat Coca-Cola and other Tales of One-upmanship"),5 novels (“Cantor’s Dilemma;” “The Bourbaki Gambit;” “Marx, deceased;” “Menachem’s Seed;” “NO”),  autobiography (“The Pill, Pygmy Chimps, and Degas’ Horse”) and memoir (“This Man’s Pill: Reflections on the 50th Birthday of the Pill”),  a collection of biographical sketches (Four Jews on Parnassus—a Conversation:Benjamin, Adorno, Scholem, and Schönberg), he has written 9 plays that have cumulatively been translated into 20 languages (AN IMMACULATE MISCONCEPTION, OXYGEN, CALCULUS,EGO, PHALLACY, TABOOS, VERRECHNET (in German),FOREPLAY, and INSUFFICIENCY).


He is also the founder of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program near Woodside, California, which provides residencies and studio space for artists in the visual arts, literature, choreography and performing arts, and music. Over 2300 artists have passed through that program since its inception in 1982.


Djerassi lives in San Francisco, Vienna, and London.(There is a Web site about Carl Djerassi’s writing at