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Luis E. Miramontes

Luis E. Miramontes
Luis E. Miramontes c. 1953
Born Luis Ernesto Miramontes Cárdenas
(1925-03-16)16 March 1925
Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico
Died 13 September 2004(2004-09-13) (aged 79)
Mexico City, Mexico
Residence Mexico (Nayarit, Estado de Mexico, DF)
Fields Chemistry, Chemical Engineering
Alma mater
Known for
Notable awards
  • Mexican National Prize in Chemistry (1986)
  • Top Chemical Engineer of all times (2011)

Luis Ernesto Miramontes Cárdenas (March 16, 1925 – September 13, 2004) was a Mexican chemist known as the co-inventor of the progestin norethindrone used in one of the first three oral contraceptives.

Miramontes was born at Universidad Iberoamericana, and deputy Director of Research at the Mexican Institute of Petroleum (IMP). Miramontes was a member of diverse scientific societies, such as the American Chemical Society (Emeritus), the Mexican Institute of Chemical Engineers, the National Institute of Chemical and Chemical Engineers, the Chemical Society of Mexico, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the New York Academy of Sciences.

He died in Mexico City in 2004.


  • Invention and synthesis of norethindrone 1
  • Recognition 2
  • Selected publications related to his invention 3
  • Patented inventions 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Invention and synthesis of norethindrone

The scientific contributions of Luis Miramontes are extensive, including numerous publications and nearly 40 national and international patents in different areas such as [6] The scientific article reporting the synthesis of 19-nor-17α-ethynyltestosterone (norethindrone) has Miramontes as the second author.[7] Finally, the very last step of the synthesis method was registered, on October 15, 1951, in page 114 of the Miramontes's personal laboratory notebook (signed).

In a 2006 essay in the G. D. Searle Pharmaceutical Company was, contrary to expectations, a potent anti-ovulatory progestin."[8]


Patent of the first oral contraceptive, elected to the USA Inventors Hall of Fame.
  • In 1985 he received the "Estado de Mexico" Medal, in the area of sciences and arts; as well as a public recognition from the government of the state of Nayarit, and an academic recognition from the Technological Institute of Tepic.
  • In 1989 he became a "Nobel Prize in 1995.
  • In 1992 the General Hospital of Zone no. 1, of the Mexican Institute of Social Security, in Tepic, Nayarit, was named "Luis Ernesto Miramontes Cardenas Hospital".
  • In 1994 the Mexican Ministry of Health recognized his scientific contributions, when installing the National Program on Family Planning in Mexico.
  • He received in 1998, on behalf of the government of the state of Nayarit, the "Amado Nervo" Medal.
Luis E. Miramontes (right) with Nobel Laureate Mario Molina, ca. 1995
  • In 2000, the contraceptive pill was denominated three times as one of the most important inventions of the last 2000 years, by a group of outstanding persons, that included several Nobel laurates.[9]
  • In 2001, at the 50th Anniversary of the synthesis of norethindrone, the UNAM and the Mexican Ministry of Health, organized individual tributes to Miramontes and Rosencraz.
  • In 2003, norethindrone was considered one of the most important 17 molecules that have influenced the history of humankind.[2]
  • In 2005, the Mexican Academy of Sciences, named the invention of Miramontes as the Mexican most important contribution to world science ever.
  • In 2009, the BBC of London nominated him as one of the five most important Latin American researchers of all the times[10]
  • In 2009, The School of Chemistry of UNAM recognized him as one of the most successful and important scientists to have received a degree from it[11]
  • In 2009, The School of Chemistry of UNAM honored him by naming the 2009 year prize QUIMIUNAM after him.[12]
  • In 2010, TCE Today, published by the IChemE regarded him "one of the chemical engineers who changed the world" [13]
  • In 2010, The Innovators of America initiative nominated him a top Icon & Legend of America[14]
  • In 2011 was named one of the world’s most influential chemical engineers of all time by the IChemE (Institution of Chemical Engineers).[15]
  • In 2011, The Mexican Institute of Chemical Engineers IMIQ named after him the Prize "Ing. Luis Ernesto Miramontes Cárdenas" aimed to recognize outstanding Mexicans in Chemical Engineering R&D .[16]

Luis E. Miramontes, Andres Manuel del Rio (discoverer of vanadium) and Mario Molina, Chemistry Nobel Prize in 1995, are the three most important Mexican chemists of all time.

Selected publications related to his invention

  • Mancera O; Miramontes L; Rosenkranz G; Sondheimer F; Djerassi C. 1953 Journal Of The American Chemical Society 75 (18): 4428-4429 Steroidal Sapogenins .28. The Reaction Of Peracids With Enol Acetates Of Delta-8-7-Keto And Delta-8-11-Keto Steroidal Sapogenins[20]
  • Djerassi C; Miramontes L; Rosenkranz G; Sondheimer F. 1954 Journal Of The American Chemical Society 76 (16): 4092-4094 Steroids .54. Synthesis Of 19-Nor-17-Alpha-Ethynyltestosterone And 19-Nor-17-Alpha-Methyltestosterone[22]

Patented inventions

  • Carl Djerassi, Luis Miramontes, George Rosenkranz (1956), Delta 4-19-nor-17alpha-ethinylandrosten-17beta-ol-3-one and process, United States Patent 2744122
  • Carl Djerassi, Luis Miramontes (1956), Cyclopentanophenanthrene derivatives and compounds, United States Patent 2759951.
  • Carl Djerassi, Luis Miramontes, George Rosenkranz (1956), 17alpha-methyl-19-nortesterone, United States Patent 2774777.
  • Miramontes Luis E., Romero Miguel A, Ahuad Farjat Fortunato (1959), Preparation of 6-methyl steroids of the pregnane series from diosgenin, United States Patent 2878246.
  • Miramontes Luis E., Romero Miguel A, Fritsche O, Preparation of 6-methyl steroids of the pregnane series, United States Patent 2878247.
  • Miramontes Luis E. (1959), Procedure for obtaining sapogenins from natural un-dried products, United States Patent 2912362.
  • Carl Djerassi, Luis Miramontes, George Rosenkranz (1959), DELTA.4-19-NOR-17.alpha.-ETHINYLANDROSTEN-17.beta.-OL-3 ONE, Canada Patent CA 571510
  • Miramontes Luis E., Romero Miguel A (1960), 12alpha-hydroxy-12beta-methyltigogenin and 12-methylene steroids derived therefrom, United States Patent 2954375.
  • Miramontes Luis E., Romero Miguel A, Ahuad Farjat Fortunato (1961), 3beta-alkanoyloxy-6-methyl-5,16-pregnadien-20-ones, United States Patent 3000914.
  • Miramontes Luis E. (1961), Process for the production of 3beta-hydroxy-16alpha, 17alpha-epoxy-5-pregnen-20-one, United States Patent 3004967.
  • Miramontes Luis E. (1961), Resolution of sapogenin mixtures and intermediate products, United States Patent 3013010.
  • Miramontes Luis E. (1962), Hecogenin azine and alkyliden-azinotigogenins, United States Patent 3033857.
  • Miramontes Luis E., Fritsche Oscar, Romero Miguel A (1963), DEHYDRO-OXYGENATED-6-METHYL-16.alpha.,17.alpha.-EPOXYPREGN-20-ONE-DERIVATIVES, Canada Patent CA 673756.
  • Miramonte, Luis E., Flores Humberto J (1968), Process for isolation of solanum alkaloids from solanum plants, United States Patent 3385844.
  • Miramonte, Luis E. (1972), Process for the conversion of exhaust gases of the internal combustion engines into harmless products, United States Patent 3808805.
  • Miramontes Luis E., Castillo Cervantes Salavador, Moran Pineda Florencia M (1996), Catalytically active ceramic monoliths for the reduction of leaded gasoline-fueled engine pollutants and the production thereof, United States Patent 5534475.


  1. ^ Lilia Miramontes. Un invento que cambió al mundo. ¿Cómo ves? Año 8 No. 67 2004
  2. ^ a b Penny Le Couteur & Jay Burreson. Napoleon's Buttons. Tarcher; Reprint edition (May 24, 2004)
  3. ^ [12]
  4. ^ licea.PDF
  5. ^ Max F. Perutz. I Wish I’d Made You Angry Earlier: Essays on Science, Scientists, and Humanity. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press 1998.
  6. ^ Carl Djerassi. This Man's Pill: Reflections on the 50th Birthday of the Pill. Oxford University Press 2001.[13]
  7. ^ Djerassi C, Miramontes L, Rosenkranz G, Sondheimer F (1954). "Steroids. LIV. Synthesis of 19-Nor-17α-ethynyltestosterone and 19-Nor-17α-methyltestosterone" (– Scholar search).  
  8. ^ Pederson T (2006). "Reflections on the prize of prizes: Alfred Nobel" (PDF).  
  9. ^ John Brockman, editor. The Greatest Inventions of the Past 2000 Years. Phoenix. 2000
  10. ^ "BBC Mundo - Ciencia y Tecnología - Latinoamericanos que cambiaron el mundo". 1970-01-01. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  11. ^ "Aporte historico y revolucionario de un egresado de la DQ" (PDF) (in Español). Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  12. ^ "Quimiunam". Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  13. ^ [14]
  14. ^ [15]
  15. ^ "Haber and Bosch named top chemical engineers". 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  16. ^ "Ing. Luis E. Miramontes". Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  17. ^ [16]
  18. ^ [17]
  19. ^ [18]
  20. ^ [19]
  21. ^ [20]
  22. ^ [21]
  23. ^ [22]
  • Lara V. Marks. Sexual Chemistry: A History of the Contraceptive Pill.372 pp. New Haven, Conn., Yale University Press, 2001.
  • Carl Djerassi. Steroids Made It Possible. American Chemical Society, Washington

External links

  • Official archive of Luis E. Miramontes at UNAM
  • Books about the history of the pill mentioning Luis Miramontes discovery
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