FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | October 06, 2021
American Chemical Society’s president comments on award of 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2021 — On behalf of the American Chemical Society (ACS), President H. N. Cheng, Ph.D., congratulates today’s winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Benjamin List, Ph.D., Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung (Germany) and David W.C. MacMillan, Ph.D., Princeton University. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the prize “for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis.”
“Asymmetric organocatalysis offers a new way of thinking and a more sustainable way of carrying out crucial chemical reactions,” says Cheng. “In the big picture, the ability to create new compounds to address human problems is the strength of chemistry. Chemists are like magicians, and with asymmetric organocatalysis, we have a new magic wand for making important drugs.”
List has been a member of ACS for 21 years. He is the winner of the Herbert C. Brown Award for Creative Research in Synthetic Methods for 2022, which is sponsored by the Purdue Borane Research Fund and the Herbert C. Brown Award Endowment. In addition, he won the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award in 2014, which is currently sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund.
MacMillan has been a member of ACS for 26 years. He won the ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry in 2011, which is currently sponsored by MilliporeSigma; the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award in 2007, which is currently sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund; the Elias J. Corey Award for Outstanding Original Contribution in Organic Synthesis by a Young Investigator in 2005, which is currently sponsored by the Pfizer Endowment Fund; and the Gabor A. Somorjai Award for Creative Research in Catalysis in 2018, which is currently sponsored by the Gabor A. and Judith K. Somorjai Endowment Fund.
Both of the winners have published articles in some of ACS’ more than 65 peer-reviewed journals. In addition, news articles on the work have appeared in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS’ weekly newsmagazine. Articles are available from the contacts below.
News media can arrange telephone interviews with Cheng or other experts in the field by calling or emailing ACS at the contact information below. In addition, C&EN’s podcast Stereo Chemistry will publish a bonus episode about the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
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- Proline-catalyzed direct asymmetric aldol reactions.
In seminal work published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, List bridged the gap between symmetric, synthetic catalysts and the asymmetric catalysis that natural enzymes perform.
- New strategies for organic catalysis: The first highly enantioselective organocatalytic Diels-Alder reaction.
In a series of Journal of the American Chemical Society articles, MacMillan laid out a new strategy for organic molecules for asymmetric catalysis, rather than metals or enzymes.