Missing Nobel prize-winning chemist found wandering, confused, on Illinois road near woman’s body

Nobel prize-winning professor Ei-ichi Negishi, left, was found wandering in the vicinity of the body of his wife, Sumire Negishi.


A Nobel prize-winning Purdue University professor of chemistry appeared in the war, when the police found him wandering alone on an Illinois road in the vicinity of the dead body of his wife, just hours after the couple was reported missing in Indiana.

The Ogle County Sheriff’s Office said deputies found the body of Sumire Negishi, 80, and the couple’s car Tuesday at Orchard Hills Landfill, outside of Rockford, shortly after they found Ei-ichi Negishi, 82, walking in a daze.

The sheriff’s department said they are investigating Sumire Negishi’s death, but foul play was not suspected. They said that they would not discuss results of the autopsy.

The couple was reported missing on Monday, March 12, 2018.


Ei-ichi Negishi is in the hospital.

The couple was reported missing Monday from their home, about 200 miles away in West Lafayette, Ind.


Ei-ichi Negishi Nobel prize in chemistry in 2010.


The couple’s family released a statement to WTHR claim the Negishis were an attempt to drive to Rockford International Airport but veered off the road. They also said Sumire was struggling with Parkinson’s disease.

“We are affected by the loss of our beloved wife and mother, Sumire Negishi, who was in the vicinity of the end of her battle with Parkinson’s disease. She was traveling with her lifelong partner and husband, Ei-ichi Negishi, who was apparently suffering from an acute state of confusion and shock,” the statement read. “The car was stuck in a ditch, and determined to be non-functioning and [Ei-ichi] appeared to look for help.”

Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University, released a report, in which he presents his condolences to the Negishi family.


“Purdue University and the world lost a good friend in the death of Sumire Negishi,” he wrote. “The whole life of love and loyalty, she supports her husband in a career of enormous contribution to the science and the education and training of subsequence generations of top scientists.”

“It turns out that the disease of Parkinson’s, where she is suffering and the spiritual confusion that age can bring to the most brilliant minds combined for the production of the recent tragic events. That these phenomena are so common is not their consequences less severe,” Daniels continued.

Ei-ichi Negishi Nobel prize in chemistry in 2010 for the “development of palladium-catalyzed cross coupling”, according to a press release of Nobel Prizes and Laureates.

“This chemical tool has vastly improved the possibilities for chemists to create sophisticated chemicals, for example carbon-based molecules as complex as those created by nature itself,” the statement read.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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