He lived in Laona, Wisconsin for a time and then attended high school in Highland Park, Illinois. He received a Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University in 1939 (Phi Beta Kappa) and his doctorate from Princeton University.
He worked for Merck & Company for 38 years retiring in 1982. He invented a Process of Treating Pregnene Compounds Cortisone, Patent Number 2,462,133. Named after him is the Sarett Oxidation which is the oxidation of an alcohol to a ketone or an aldehyde using chromic oxide and pyridine.
Primary alcohols will be oxidised to aldehydes and not carboxylic acids.
1964 Scheele Award.
National Academy of Sciences.