American Chemical Society’s president comments on award of 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2022 — On behalf of the American Chemical Society (ACS), President Angela K. Wilson, Ph.D., congratulates today’s winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Ph.D., Stanford University; Morten Meldal, Ph.D., University of Copenhagen (Denmark); and K. Barry Sharpless, Ph.D., Scripps Research. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the prize “for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry.”

“We are absolutely delighted with these awards, which recognize the enormous impact of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry,” says Wilson. “This type of chemistry links together chemical building blocks in a predictable way, almost like Lego®. Putting these building blocks together opens up a range of possibilities from drug development to materials to diagnostics.” 

Bertozzi is also director of Sarafan ChEM-H at Stanford University and is affiliated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She has been an ACS member for 32 years and is an ACS Fellow. She is the inaugural editor in chief of ACS Central Science, established in 2015 as the first completely open access journal published by ACS. Bertozzi is an outspoken advocate for open science, and during her tenure, ACS Central Science has established itself as a premier journal for all areas of chemistry and related sciences. She has published over 150 articles in ACS journals and has won many ACS awards, including the Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry for 2023, sponsored by Organic Reactions Inc. and Organic Syntheses Inc.; the Arthur C. Cope Award in 2017, sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund; the ACS Award in Pure Chemistry in 2001, sponsored by the Alpha Chi Sigma Fraternity and the Alpha Chi Sigma Educational Foundation; and an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award in 1999, sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund. In addition, Bertozzi was named a Trailblazer in both 2020 and 2022 by Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), an independent news outlet of ACS. As a leader within ACS, Bertozzi has made herself available as a mentor and resource for the community, participating in the organization’s diversity initiatives, answering questions directly from researchers and sharing her own story with young scientists.

“We celebrate Dr. Bertozzi’s leadership in advocating for diversity and inclusion in chemistry,” says Wilson.

Meldal has been a member of ACS for 14 years. He is the winner of the Ralph F. Hirschmann Award in Peptide Chemistry, sponsored by Merck Research Laboratories, in 2009. He has published over 40 articles in ACS journals.

Sharpless won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2001 for his work on chirally catalyzed oxidation reactions. He has been a member of ACS for 59 years, is an ACS Fellow and has published nearly 150 articles in ACS journals. He won the Priestley Medal, sponsored by ACS, in 2019; the Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry, sponsored by Organic Reactions Inc. and Organic Syntheses Inc., in 1997; the Arthur C. Cope Award, sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund, in 1992; an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund, in 1986; and the ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, sponsored by MilliporeSigma (a business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany), in 1983.

“All three winners have made outstanding contributions to chemistry. To win the Nobel Prize once is rare enough. To win twice, as Barry Sharpless has just done, is phenomenal,” Wilson says. “The American Chemical Society is especially pleased to have an active editor in chief, Carolyn Bertozzi of ACS Central Science, honored with this prestigious award.”

All of the winners have published articles in some of ACS’ more than 70 peer-reviewed journals. In addition, news articles on the work have appeared in C&EN. Articles are available upon request.

News media can arrange interviews with Wilson or other experts in the field by contacting ACS using the information provided. In addition, C&EN’s podcast Stereo Chemistry will publish a bonus episode about the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

To automatically receive press releases from the American Chemical Society, contact newsroom@acs.org.

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Note: ACS does not conduct research, but publishes and publicizes peer-reviewed scientific studies.

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