Hugh Felkin (1922–2001) was a research chemist in France from 1950 to 1990 and a member of the British Royal Society for Chemistry.
In 1967, he proposed a model to predict the stereochemical outcome of the addition of nucleophiles to carbonylic compounds. This model (now known as the Felkin-Anh model) differs slightly from the Cram's rule and it is one of the most accepted rules to predict the outcome of these reactions.
He finished his career as Directeur de Recherche at the Institut de Chimie des Substances Naturelles in Gif-sur-Yvette. His laboratory was an outpost of organometallic chemistry there, with a special focus on organorhenium chemistry. Notable alumni of Hugh's lab include Bernard Meunier (president of the CNRS 2004-2006) and Steve Davies, Bob Crabtree.
Born in England on the 18th January 1922, he spent the second world war years in Switzerland studying chemistry. At that time the requirements for a degree were "to show sufficient knowledge in chemistry".
After completing his studies, he went to France to work for the CNRS. In France he met Irène, born Elphimoff, also a research chemist, who became his wife. They had one daughter, Mary, born in 1962.
He was a member of the communist party until the communist coup in Prague in 1948. After this disappointment, his sympathies still firmly inclined towards the left, he read "Le Monde" without which he used to say he didn't know what to think. Other sayings for which he was noted were "Je suis anti-sioniste mais je n'arrive pas a être pro-arabe", and in case of any uncertainty on the part of the presenter in group meetings, "il ne s'agit pas de croire, il s'agit de savoir" .
Hugh Felkin was a quiet and friendly man, who could become icily sarcastic when roused. He enjoyed travelling, good food, and good whisky (usually mixed with citron pressé and cane syrup) in moderation.
... Marc Chérest, Hugh Felkin and Nicole Prudent (1968) ... Marc Chérest and Hugh Felkin (1968) ... Persondata Name Felkin, Hugh Alternative names Short description Date of birth 1922 Place of birth Date of death 2001 Place of death ...
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