Lemieux, Dr. Raymond U.

1993 Winner: Alberta Pioneer in Science and Technology

Researcher Achieves Unparalleled Recognition For Monumental Work

Raymond Lemieux, a native of Lac la Biche, Alberta has received 14 honorary degrees from Universities in Canada, the United States, France and Sweden, and was the inaugural recipient of the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council’s Gold Medal in Science in 1991. In 1967 he was named a Fellow of the Royal Society (London) and has received many medals and distinctions including the King Faisal International Prize in Science and the Alberta Einstein World Award in Science.

Amazing Discovery

In the late 1940’s he amazed the chemical world by achieving the first rational synthesis of sucrose. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in honours chemistry from the University of Alberta followed by his PhD from McGill University in 1946, after which he did post-doctoral studies at Ohio State University. In 1947 he became an assistant professor at the University of Saskatchewan, and two years later joined the Prairie Regional Laboratory at the National Research Council. In 1954 he became Professor and Chairman of the Department of Chemistry at the University at Ottawa, but his western character loomed large and he was attracted to the University of Alberta by Harry Gunning in 1961.

Plethora of Accomplishments

Raymond Lemieux’s scientific achievements have been matched by his leadership and commitment to the development in Alberta of a viable research-intensive industry, one which would fulfill national goals and provide much needed employment for Canadians. He has founded three companies, R&L Molecular Research in 1963, Raylo Chemical in 1966 and Chembiomed Ltd. in 1977. In addition to over 200 scientific publications in carbohydrate chemistry he holds 28 patents and has had lectureships, awards and prizes named after him. The American Chemical Society published his biography “How Sweet it Is”. Since his retirement in 1985 he has maintained an active participation in both his academic and industrial interests.