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Professor brings early Russian chemists' contributions to light

More than 20 years ago, Dr. David Lewis became curious about the people behind the names of the organic chemical reactions he was teaching to his students.

Each reaction is named for the chemist who discovered it. For Lewis, a UW-Eau Claire professor of chemistry, following his curiosity about those chemists has elevated him to rock star status among his chemistry colleagues in — of all places — Russia.

Turns out, Russian chemists have contributed much to their discipline, and Lewis has documented the legacy of these scientists in a number of scholarly articles and a book, with another book planned.

Lewis has taken five trips to Russia as he has researched the history of chemistry in that country. Two of those trips have included UW-Eau Claire students who have helped him with his research. 

Read a Chippewa Valley Post article (written by David Gordon, professor emeritus and former chair of UW-Eau Claire's department of communication and journalism) about Lewis' historical work and the high esteem in which he is held by his Russian colleagues.

Image cutline: Dr. David Lewis, second from left, and UW-Eau Claire chemistry students Alex Davis (far left) and Gene Walsh (far right) traveled to Kazan, Russia, in 2015 to assist with Lewis' research into the history of chemistry in Russia. Also pictured is Gul’nar Mel’nikova (second from right), director of the Butlerov Museum of the Kazan School of Chemistry.