Organic Chemistry Professor Receives MacArthur “Genius Award” for Passing Own Exam

BAKER LAB — Dr. William Dichtel was awarded the highly prestigious MacArthur “Genius Award” Fellowship when he became the first person to pass an orgo prelim that he himself gave to his students.

When asked about how he earned the $625,000 recognition, Dichtel replied “I studied for a few hours, but at the end of the day it came down to luck.”

The last person to successfully manage a 70% or higher on his own chemistry exam was Nobel Prize-winning chemist and Cornell faculty member Peter Debye, back in 1943.

“I still can’t believe I was able to remember concepts I’d been teaching for 10 years,” said the ground-breaking researcher, who will likely get through his own class just barely managing a B+.

After he had accepted the award, Dichtel was found on Yahoo answers looking up this week’s problem set.

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