Charles Shoppee was a major figure in research into the steroid family of organic compounds. After an extensive grounding in mechanistic organic chemistry with such major figures as Sir Jocelyn Thorpe FRS at Imperial College and Sir Christopher Ingold FRS at the University of Leeds, Shoppee spent the war years in Basel working with Tadeus Reichstein (ForMemRS 1952). There he began to apply reaction mechanistic concepts to the reactions of natural products, particularly steroids, in which he was in the vanguard of a huge and widespread activity prompted, in part, by the pharmaceutical industry's interests in these important compounds. However, in additional to their therapeutic potential they provided a rigid template on which one could explore aspects of structure determination, synthesis, mechanism and stereochemistry. After the war, Shoppee spent a brief period in London before taking up the chair of chemistry at the University of Wales, Swansea, where he built up the research strengths of the Chemistry Department and continued to build a major opus on the synthesis, stereochemistry and physical-organic chemistry of steroids during the following eight years. These interests were continued for a further 13 years at the University of Sydney until his formal retirement in 1969. After a period of five years at Texas Technological University, he returned to Australia and maintained his commitment to science until the end, still working at the bench in his 87th year.