Scientists Benjamin List and David MacMillan, who showed that organic catalysts can be used to drive multitudes of chemical reactions, have been awarded the Nobel Prize 2021 in Chemistry.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the prestigious prize to List and MacMillan, and applauded their contribution “for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis”.
In the year 2000, List and MacMillan, independent of each other, had developed a third type of catalysis called asymmetric organocatalysis, which builds upon small organic molecules to test if an amino acid called 'proline' catalyses a chemical reaction or nor. It worked brilliantly, the academy said.
Johan Åqvist, who is chair of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry, said, "This concept for catalysis is as simple as it is ingenious, and the fact is that many people have wondered why we didn’t think of it earlier."
List, born 1968 in Frankfurt, Germany, did his PhD in 1997 from Goethe University Frankfurt. He is the director of the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany.
MacMillan, born 1968 in Bellshill, UK, is a PhD from the University of California, Irvine, USA. He is a professor at Princeton University, USA. The Nobel Prize amount is 10 million Swedish Kronor, and will be shared equally between the Laureates.
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