Carl Derassi, Ph.D. is probably one of the most important figures in the 20th century and most people don't know much about him. Derassi, a Holocaust survivor who lived in Austria and Bulgaria before coming to the US at age 16, is one of the developers of the original oral contraceptive pill. PBS' outstanding series American Experience profiled the "Pill" in a recent episode and described the impact of the drug:

In May 1960, the FDA approved the sale of a pill that arguably would
have a greater impact on American culture than any other drug in the
nation's history. For women across the country, the contraceptive pill
was liberating: it allowed them to pursue careers, fueled the feminist
and pro-choice movements and encouraged more open attitudes towards

Dr. Derassi's career took dramatic turns after inventing the Pill in the 50s. In the 60s, he founded a company that created a hormone to control fleas and other insects. His company was bought by Occidental Petroleum, making Derassi a very wealthy man.

Derassi has used his wealth to become a supporter of up and coming artists. And he has become a prolific author of fiction and non-fiction books as well as a number of plays.

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