The annual Oklahoma Academy of Science - Award of Merit was presented to Dr. E. J. Eisenbraun, Department of Chemistry, Oklahoma State University, at the November 1982 meeting in Chickasha. This award was given in recognition of research in methylcyclopentane monoterpenoid chemistry (nepetalactone, which excites cats, is a member of this class of monoterpenoids) and a broad synthesis effort in the preparation and purification of organic compounds. The latter area involved synthesis for the petroleum industry through the American Petroleum Institute Research Project 58A at Oklahoma State University during 1962-1974 and several Federal agencies (NSF, EPA, ERDA, DOE, and NICHHD).
Since 1975 the synthesis effort has been mainly directed to preparation and purification of high-purity compounds for thermodynamic studies and mass spectrometry research at the Bartlesville Energy Technology Center of the U. S. Department of Energy at Bartlesville. The current effort also includes synthesis of 13C-1abeled compounds for Gulf Research and Development Company for use as tracers in their coal liquefaction research. Another recent effort has been the synthesis of modified steroid antifertility agents.
Dr. Eisenbraun's research group currently consists of three undergraduate students, eight graduate students, and three postdoctoral chemists. Since 1965, 39 M.S. and Ph.D. degrees have been awarded and 20 postdoctoral chemists have worked in the group. The combined efforts of the group have resulted in 141 publications. A recent tally showed that external support has exceeded $1,800,000.
Dr. Eisenbraun grew up in South Dakota, served in World War II in the 109th Engineer Combat Battalion, 34th Infantry Division in the North African and Italian campaigns, and attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison as an undergraduate and graduate student. He obtained his Ph.D. under Professor S. M. McElvain in 1955. He worked for the Monsanto Chemical and Engineering Company at Dayton, Ohio for one year (1955-1956) and then did postdoctoral work for Dr. Carl Djerassi at Wayne State University in Detroit for three years until August 1959. He supervised moving the Djerassi group to Stanford University and acted as a liaison in the construction of the Stauffer I chemistry building (during 1959-1960) and then served an additional year as a senior Research Associate in the Department of Chemistry. His next position was Director of Research at Aldrich Chemical Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin for one year prior to joining Oklahoma State University as an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Director of American Petroleum Institute Research Project 58A in 1962. Promotion to Professor and Regents Professor took place in 1968 and 1975, respectively.