Event Info

Technische Universität Dortmund


On site

Date and Time
Sa 28.10.2023
14:00 - 16:00o'clock
Event City
TU Dortmund, Emil-Figge-Straße 50, Raum 0.406, 44227 Dortmund

To the ‘Father’ of the Pill: Carl Djerassi on His 100th Birthday

Carl Djerassi, one of the most important chemists of the 20th century and one of the most unusual writers of the 21st century would have celebrated his 100th birthday on Oct. 29, 2023. The “father” of the pill and cortisone was a friend of the Technical University of Dortmund, where he received his first honorary doctorate for his literary work in 2009 – after many doctoral hats h.c. for his achievements in chemistry. After more than 1000 publications in science, he closed his laboratory and started his new literary career with two new genres – “science-in-fiction” and “science-in-theatre.” His short stories, novels and dramas from the world of science try to develop interest, understanding and appreciation for the natural sciences among the wider audience. At the same time, his works show the Sciences as part of a specific culture of which they are often unaware.

The Vienna-born Jewish “intellectual polygamist,” as he liked to call himself, who fled with his family to the United States in 1938 to escape the Nazis, had a remarkable international career. In addition to his achievements in chemistry and literature, he was an admirer of Paul Klee and divided the largest private Klee collection between his new hometown of San Francisco and his old home in Vienna as part of a donation. Since its inception in 1979, the Djerassi Resident Artist Program he established has offered more than 2300 artists the opportunity to pursue their creative pursuits in one of the most scenically inspiring parts of California.

Carl Djerassi was a friend of Dortmund Technical University. From the mid-1990s until his death in 2015, he was a frequent visitor, participating in seminars on his work and presenting new work, including works-in-progress with pleasure. He particularly appreciated students’ creative responses to his often provocative literary works and the scholarly interest in his work shown by Dortmund’s American Studies department.

As part of the TU Dortmund University’s Open House they will review Carl Djerassi’s scientific and literary achievements. The English Theatre Group theater group of the Faculty of Cultural Studies will perform two scenes from his play OXYGEN. Which of three scientists deserves the credit for having “discovered” oxygen – or did their wives actually play the decisive role?

NRW USA Footer