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Benny Romero Romero 1

Gregory 7th
Chemistry
10/15/14

A HISTORY LESSON FOR CHEMISTRY: THE LIFE OF ROBERT L
MCNEIL JR.
Choose and research a famous chemist in history, then write a Q&A style magazine article that reveals key
details about the chemist.

Basic Information

Robert Lincoln McNeil Jr.
was born on July 15th of
1915, in Bethel,
Connecticut, but he was
actually raised in
Philadelphia. He lived unto
May 20th, 2010, and
unfortunately passed away
due to heart failure. He is
remembered as an insightful
What You Really Want To Know
chemist who determinedly
sought to find a rival Interview
medication to aspirin, and Q: For what business did you work for, and what was your
eventually did so. assigned responsibilities?

A: I worked for my family’s business; a corner drug store, which
College Years was founded three generations ago in 1879, but had eventually
grown to selling medicine commercially. While working there, I
McNeil attended Yale was appointed to the commercial development, naming and
University in 1936, where introduction of our groundbreaking product, N-acetyl p-
he earned himself an aminophenol, or more commonly know as Tylenol.
undergraduates degree in Q: What was the motive of your company, and how did you go
physiological chemistry about completing your goal?
and bacteriology. Later A: Well, our envision was to formulate a competitor to the widely 

on, he enrolled at
Philadelphia’s College of
Pharmacy and Science in
1938, and subsequently
earned his second
bachelor’s degree.

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Benny Romero Romero 2
Gregory 7th
Chemistry
10/15/14

popular aspirin. Firstly on my conquest to beat aspirin, I had
stumbled upon acetaminophen, a chemical which had been
discovered decades earlier, but unfortunately went unnoticed and
untested of it’s properties. And I thought, this is my opportunity to
pounce on. So, McNeil laboratories began to pursue the
development of “acetaminophen”, and down the road, I realized
that our project would have a high product cost, and that it’d
have to be sold at a more expensive price tag, but the way we
convinced people to purchase our innovation was by science. Yes,
the medication had an advantage over aspirin in which it didn’t
Robert L. McNeil Jr. induce stomach irruption on the consumer.
• Birthplace: Bethel Connecticut Q: How do you wish to be remembered in the scientific
community?
• Birth date:July 13, 1915 - May
20, 2010 A: All I wish is that I’m remembered as not simply a brilliant
synthetic chemist, which I wasn’t nor will be, but as insightful in
• Death date: May 20, 2010 that I found this uncommon and unfamiliar substance and rolled
the dice. You may ask, how did you “ roll the dice”, and I believe I
• Death place: Wyndmoor, did so by testing and marketing acetaminophen to people in an
Pennsylvania attempt to rival a widely accepted medication at the time

• Contribution to science:
manufactured one of the
world’s bestselling over-the-
counter painkillers

Above- McNeil’s product in pill form, known as Acetaminophen, or

Sources Cited:
N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2014. <http%3A%2F
%2Fwww.cemheritage.org%2Fdiscover%2Fonline-
resources%2Fchemistry~in~history%2Fpeople.aspx>.
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