“2021 chemistry laureates Benjamin List and David MacMillan have developed an ingenious new tool for building molecules: organocatalysis. Its uses include researching new pharmaceuticals and it has also helped make chemistry greener.” said the Nobel Committee.
Researchers long believed that there were only two types of catalysts available: metals and enzymes.
Independently of each other, the award-winning Benjamin List and David MacMillan developed a third type, asymmetric organocatalysis, which is based on small organic molecules.
Benjamin List, winner of the #NobelPrize in Chemistry, wondered if a complete enzyme was really required to obtain… https://t.co/n4rGqKqO6C
– The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) 1633513931000
David MacMillan, winner of the Nobel Prize in 2021, worked with metal catalysts that were easily destroyed by moisture. Hey where … https://t.co/pTTnn4EMam
– The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) 1633513948000
Organocatalysis has developed at an astonishing speed.
Using these reactions, researchers can now more efficiently build anything from new pharmaceuticals to molecules that can capture light in solar cells.
Last year, the honor went to French Emmanuelle Charpentier and American Jennifer Doudna, for developing the gene editing technique known as CRISPR-Cas9 – “scissors” for cutting DNA.
The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and 10 million Swedish crowns (more than $ 1.14 million). The prize money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.
The Nobel season continues with the two most consecutive prizes, the one for literature on Thursday and the one for peace on Friday. The winner of the economics award will be announced on Monday.
The medicine award kicked off the 2021 Nobel season on Monday, and it went to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for breakthroughs that paved the way for the treatment of chronic pain.
The physics award followed Tuesday, when half went to Japanese-American scientist Syukuro Manabe and Klaus Hasselmann for climate models, and the other half to Italian Giorgio Parisi for his work on the theory of disordered materials and random processes.
(With inputs from agencies)