Luis E. Miramontes, Prolific Mexican Chemist

Luis Ernesto Miramontes Cárdenas was born on the 16th of March 1925 in Tepic, Nayarit. Prolific Mexican chemist, his scientific work is very vast, covering many written publications and nearly 40 national and international patents on organic chemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry, petrochemicals and the chemistry of environmental pollutants.

Among his multiple contributions to Mexican and universe science, the most outstanding is the synthesis of norethisterone in 1951, when Miramontes was only 26 years old. This compound is the base of the first oral synthetic contraceptive, better known as the contraceptive pill. This is why the name of Miramontes was inscribed next to Pasteur, Edison, Bell and the Wright brothers in the USA Inventors Hall of Fame.

This invention has been awarded multiple recognitions; here is a list of only a few:

- In 1964 this pill was recognized by the United States Department of Patents as one of the 40 most important inventions registered from 1794 to 1964.
- In 2000, the contraceptive pill was named three times as one of the most important inventions in the last 2000 years by a group of outstanding personalities, including many Nobel Prize winners.
- In 2003, norethisterone was considered one of the 17 most important molecules in the history of humankind.
- In 2004, the invention of Luis E. Miramontes was selected as the twentieth most important of all times in an election organized by SCENTA of The Engineering and Technology Board of the United Kingdom.
- In 2005, the Mexican Science Academy named the invention of Luis E. Miramontes as Mexico’s most important contribution to world science in the XX century.

Luis E. Miramontes was professor at Chemistry Faculty of UNAM, director and professor of the Chemistry School at Universidad Iberoamericana and sub-director of Basic Research at Instituto Mexicano del Petroleo (IMP). He was also a member of various scientific societies; among the most outstanding are the American Chemical Society, Mexican Institute of Chemical Engineers, National School of Chemical Engineers and Chemists, Mexico’s Chemistry Society, American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the New York Academy of Sciences.

Luis E. Miramontes died on the 13th of September 2004 in Mexico City.

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