The man who changed everything
While working on his doctorate in Chemistry at UNAM, Luis Ernesto Miramontes Cárdenas (born 16 March 1925, Tepic,Nayarit) took a job with a small Mexican pharmaceutical company, Syntex, which was working on synthisizing extracts from the North American wild yam (Dioscórea mexicana) which had been used for centuries by Husataca and other indigenous Mexican women to prevent unwanted births.
On 15 October 1951, Miramontes succeeded in synthizing noretisterona, the chemical equivalent of the naturally occuring substance in yams that prevents ovulation. While his supervisor Carl Djerassi, assisted with Miramontes research, and along with Synex director, George Rosenkranz, shared in patent rights, Miramontes was the guy who unlocked the formula that permitted low-cost, effective, and mass-produced birth control — radically altering not only the lives of Mexican women (where the right to family planning was enshrined in the Constitution) but the lives of all women.
So… what did you do in grad school?