Chemistry

Molecule Day 2002: Norethindron

Chemistry October 2001 marked the 50th Anniversary of the steroid first synthesized as an oral contraceptive (birth control pill) by award winning chemist and writer, Dr. Carl Djerassi. Norethindrone (CAS 66-22-4) is a progesterone derivative (one that can be taken orally) and is still used in oral contraceptives today. The synthesis of norethindrone, which ultimately led to the development of the birth control pill, was not only a significant contribution to the scientific community, but also to the liberation of women, and to society in general.

April 24, 2002 the chemistry department celebrated Molecule Day by hosting a student poster session on various aspects of norethindrone. Some of the poster titles are listed below:


  • To determine relative amounts of calories obtained by consuming norethindrone, aspirin, and cholesterol through bomb calorimetry
  • Investigation of interactions between norethindrone acetate and octadecane
  • History of contraception- Timeline to norethindrone
  • The physiological effects of norethindrone
  • The use of contraceptives and its effects on human population growth
  • Quantitation of norethindrone acetate in a contraceptive using revered-phase high performance liquid chromatography
  • Assessing the binding capacity of norethindrone to proteins
  • Norethindrone Kinemage authorship project
  • Colorimetric quantitation of norethindrone Using UV-Visible Spectroscopy