Missing Purdue Nobel Laureate Found Alive, Wife Dead

Mar 14, 2018

6:20 p.m. update:

Purdue President Mitch Daniels has released the following statement regarding Sumire Negishi’s death:

“Purdue University and the world have lost a dear friend in the death of Sumire Negishi. Throughout a lifetime of love and loyalty, she supported her husband in a career of tremendous contributions to science and to the teaching and training of subsequent generations of top scientists.

“It appears that the Parkinson’s disease from which she has been suffering and the mental confusion that age can bring to the most brilliant minds combined to produce the recent tragic events. That these phenomena are so common does not make their consequences any less cruel.

“All Boilermakers everywhere join the Negishi family in sadness at the loss of Sumire, who made so many of her own contributions to her husband’s life work and to the vitality of our community.”

Mitch Daniels

President, Purdue University

EARLIER:

Sumire Negishi, the wife of Purdue chemistry professor and Nobel prize-winner Ei-ichi Negishi, was found dead in a landfill near Rockford, Illinois Tuesday night. Ei-ichi Negishi was found walking in the nearby area and taken to a Rockford hospital for treatment, where he remains.

The couple was reported missing to the Indiana State Police on Monday night. While an autopsy was performed on Sumire, no cause of death has yet been determined, and a statement from the Ogle County Sheriff’s department says no foul play is suspected. The couple’s vehicle was also located at the nearby Orchard Hills Landfill.

Ei-ichi, a researcher at Purdue for more than three decades, received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2010 for his work on palladium-catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis. Several members of Purdue’s chemistry department declined comment. 

This story will be updated.