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Chemistry dedicates Buchi/Pfizer labs

The Department of Chemistry has dedicated two floors of the renovated Dreyfus Building, naming them the Buchi/Pfizer Laboratories of Synthetic Organic Chemistry.

The labs on the second and third floors of Building 18 are named in honor of the late Professor Emeritus George H. Buchi and for Pfizer Global Research and Development Division and the Pfizer Foundation, which supported the renovations. The Buchi/Pfizer labs are part of a multimillion-dollar project to upgrade chemistry research space at the Institute.

The Aug. 17 ceremony also marked the success of Chemistry Campaign 2000, which will result in renovation of all space in the department, including rooms and labs in Buildings 2, 4, 6 and 18. The work is being funded by MIT as well as gifts from alumni, industry and friends of the department.


The project designed by the architectural firm Goody, Clancy and Associates includes rebuilt research labs; new mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire safety systems; a flexible space format that will allow for reconfiguration as needed; and a restored exterior facade. The renovation will give the building a more open plan and increase natural light in the labs.

To minimize the impact on the occupants, a construction plan was devised to allow one self-contained section of the building to be renovated during each of three phases. The second phase has just been finished; the entire three-year project for the seven-story, 132,000-square-foot space is scheduled for completion in late spring 2003.

Goody, Clancy and Associates also designed the David H. Koch Biology Building and the Whitehead Institute. I.M. Pei, who earned a master's degree in architecture from MIT in 1940, designed the Dreyfus Building, which opened in 1967. He also designed the Wiesner Building.


George H. Buchi joined the MIT faculty in 1951 and was named the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Professor of Chemistry in 1971, a position he held until his retirement in 1991. He died of heart failure while hiking with his wife Anne Barkman B��chi in his native Switzerland on Aug. 28, 1998, at the age of 77.

In his 40 years at MIT, Buchi trained 70 Ph.D. students and more than 120 postdoctoral associates and visiting scientists, many of whom subsequently rose to leadership positions in academia and industry around the world. B��chi's research spanned several areas of organic chemistry, including the elucidation of the structure of natural products, the invention and discovery of new methods and strategies for organic synthesis, and the total synthesis of complex naturally occurring substances.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 11, 2002.

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