The Sceptical Chymist | Reactions – Shuli You

Published in Chemistry

Shuli You is a Professor of Organic Chemistry in the State Key Laboratory of Organometallic Chemistry, Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and works on methodology development, total synthesis, and medicinal chemistry.

1. What made you want to be a chemist?

I was good at chemistry in high school and then chose chemistry as major in university. Now I really enjoy being a chemist by developing new tools that allow the facile access to novel molecules with interests.

2. If you weren’t a chemist and could do any other job, what would it be – and why?

In reality, if I did not get the chance to study in the college, I would be a farmer now carrying on my parents’ job. However, if I can choose, I would like to be an editor for a scientific journal. In that way, I want to try my best to make sure that every submission is fairly treated.

3. What are you working on now, and where do you hope it will lead?

We are working on the new methodology development based on C–H bond direct functionalization and asymmetric dearomatization. I hope that eventually our methodologies can be used by every chemist to produce the molecules they are interested in.

4. Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with – and why?

Fredrick G. Banting, who won the 1923 Nobel Prize for his discovery of insulin. I was so intrigued by the story on the discovery of insulin, and I have so many questions to ask.

5. When was the last time you did an experiment in the lab – and what was it?

This reminds that I have not done lab work for quite a while. Last time I did something on asymmetric Friedel-Crafts reaction was about one year ago. Now I really miss the very beginning of my independent career during when I had a lot of time to do experiments.

6. If exiled on a desert island, what one book and one music album would you take with you?

It is definitely not a book on chemistry. It is a hard choice, and I probably will take “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown and then a music collection of late pop singer Teresa Teng.

7. Which chemist would you like to see interviewed on Reactions – and why?

Professor Lixin Dai from our department. Professor Dai is a noble man, great chemist, and a person with unique character.

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