Paul S. Anderson

Born: February 3, 1938 | Concord, VT, US

Paul S. Anderson, shortly after graduate school accepted a position as a researcher with Merck, Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories. Over the next thirty years, Anderson advanced through the ranks of Merck leadership, eventually becoming the vice president for chemistry at their West Point facilities. Then, in 1998, Anderson became the senior vice president of his department for the newly formed DuPont Pharmaceuticals.

The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.

Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0266
No. of pages: 32
Minutes: 140

Interview Sessions

28 October 2002
Bristol-Myers Squibb, Wilmington, Delaware

Abstract of Interview

Paul S. Anderson begins the interview with a discussion of his family and his childhood in Vermont. Though he was born in Concord, Vermont, in 1938, his father became the superintendent of Swainton, Vermont, schools soon after his son’s birth, and so Anderson’s family moved there. Paul Anderson attended Highgate High School, and went on to attend the University of Vermont for his undergraduate studies in chemistry. After receiving his BS in chemistry in 1959, Anderson attended the University of New Hampshire, where he earned his PhD in chemistry in 1963. Following a brief post-doctoral fellowship with Jerrold Meinwald at Cornell University, Anderson accepted a senior research position at the Merck, Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories. Over the next thirty years, Anderson advanced through the ranks of Merck leadership, eventually becoming the vice president for chemistry at their West Point facilities. In 1994, DuPont and Merck formed a joint-venture company, for which Anderson served as the vice president for the chemical and physical sciences. Then, in 1998, DuPont bought out Merck’s half of the joint venture and made Anderson the senior vice president of his department for the newly formed DuPont Pharmaceuticals. When Bristol-Meyers Squibb bought DuPont Pharmaceuticals in 2001, Anderson continued with the company as the vice president of drug discovery. Anderson concludes his interview with his feelings about winning the Perkin Medal and the significance of federal funding for scientific research.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1959 University of Vermont BS Chemistry
1963 University of New Hampshire PhD Chemistry

Professional Experience

Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories

1964 to 1969
Senior Research Chemist, Medicinal Chemistry Department
1969 to 1973
Research Fellow, Medicinal Chemistry Department
1973 to 1975
Senior Research Fellow, Medicinal Chemistry Department
1975 to 1979
Associate Director, Medicinal Chemistry Department
1979 to 1980
Senior Director, Medicinal Chemistry Department
1980 to 1988
Executive Director, Medicinal Chemistry Department
1988 to 1994
Vice President for Chemistry, West Point

DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company

1994 to 1998
1998 to 2001
Senior Vice President for Chemical and Physical Sciences

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

2001 to 2002
Vice President, Drug Discovery

Honors

Year(s) Award
1992

Philadelphia Section of the American Chemical Society Award

1995

E. B. Herschberg Award for Important Discoveries in Medicinally Active Substances (ACS)

1998

D.Sc. (Honoris causa), University of Vermont

1998

D.Sc. (Honoris causa), University of Montpelier

1998

Lord Company Lecturer at Allegheny College

1999

Regents Lecturer, University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Chemistry

1999

Lambda Upsilon Award Lectureship, University of Nebraska, Department of Chemistry

1999

Commencement Speaker, College of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley

2000

Robbins Lecturer at Pomona College

2001

Hurd Lecturer at Northwestern University

2001

American Chemical Society Award in Industrial Chemistry

2001

Doctor of Chemistry (Honoris causa), University of New Hampshire

2002

Perkin Medal, Society of Chemical Industry

2002

Edward Smissman Lecturer at the University of Kansas

Table of Contents

Childhood and Early Education
1

Born in Concord, Vermont. Father's work in the Vermont school system. Attending Highgate High School. Initial interest in chemistry. Undergraduate education at the University of Vermont. Donald Gregg. Clinton Cook.

Graduate School
7

Graduate education at University of New Hampshire. Robert Lyle. Harold Iddles. Paul Jones. Lecturing at UNH. Introduction to medicinal chemistry.

Early Career
9

Post-doctoral fellowship with Jerrold Meinwald at Cornell University. Researching cockroaches. Harold Scheraga. Peter Debye. Joining Merck Laboratories. Working with Frank Robinson and Jim Sprague. Drug research at Merck. Gordon Gribble. Producing aromatic hydrocarbons. MK-108.

Moving to West Point
16

Ralph S. Hirschmann. Becoming the head of medicinal chemistry at West Point. P. Roy Vagelos becomes head of research at Merck. Management philosophy at West Point. Considering the mechanisms of action. Various drugs developed at Merck. The DuPont-Merck Pharmaceutical Company. The selling of Merck to Bristol-Meyers Squibb. The future of Bristol-Meyers.

Conclusion
24

Reflections on winning the Perkin Medal. The importance of federal investment in research. Serving as president of the American Chemical Society. Discussion of his wife and future goals.

Index
28

About the Interviewer

James G. Traynham

James G. Traynham is a professor of chemistry at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. He holds a PhD in organic chemistry from Northwestern University. He joined Louisiana State University in 1953 and served as chemistry department chairperson from 1968 to 1973. He was chairman of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1988 and is currently councilor of the Baton Rouge section of the American Chemical Society. He was a member of the American Chemical Society’s Joint-Board Council on Chemistry and Public Affairs, as well as a member of the Society’s Committees on Science, Chemical Education, and Organic Chemistry Nomenclature. He has written over 90 publications, including a book on organic nomenclature and a book on the history of organic chemistry.