Father of birth control pills, Carl Djerassi passes away at 91

San Francisco: Carl Djerassi, the chemist widely considered the father of the birth control pill, has died.

Djerrasi died of complications of cancer in his San Francisco home, Stanford University spokesman Dan Stober said. He was 91.

Djerassi, a professor emeritus of chemistry at Stanford, was most famous for leading a research team in Mexico City that in 1951 developed norethindrone, a synthetic molecule that became a key component of the first birth control pill.

"The pill," as it came to be known, radically transformed sexual practices and women's lives.

 Father of birth control pills, Carl Djerassi passes away at 91

In this Oct. 20, 2009 file photo, Carl Djerassi talks to Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, not seen, at the federal chancellery in Vienna, Austria. AP

In his book, This Man's Pill, Djerassi said the invention also changed his life, making him more interested in how science affects society.

In 1969, he submitted a public policy article about the global implications of US contraceptive research, according to the Stanford News Service. In 1970, he published another article about the feasibility of a birth control pill for men.

"The thoughts behind these two public policy articles had convinced me that politics, rather than science, would play the dominant role in shaping the future of human birth control," he wrote.

He is survived by a son, Dale Djerassi; a stepdaughter, Leah Middlebrook; and a grandson, Alexander M. Djerassi.

Associated Press

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Updated Date: Feb 01, 2015 11:39:03 IST