Charles J. Pedersen, who toiled for nine years on research that ultimately landed him the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1987, died Thursday at his home after a lengthy illness. He was 85.
At age 60, working for the E.I. du Pont de Nemours Co. of Wilmington, Del., Pedersen developed crown ether molecules that can mimic important biological processes. Even though it took the Nobel committee two decades to recognize his work when he was already 83, Pedersen said he had realized its importance from the beginning."For one thing, the compounds that I discovered opened up a new avenue in organic chemistry," Pedersen said at a news conference in his home town of Salem after he was awarded the prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.