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Nobel Prize 2021 in Chemistry| Received by DUO, who developed a tool for molecular building

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2021 to the Benjamin List of Max-Planck-Institute for Kohlinforcing, Melehim N. der Rohr, Germany and David WC. Macmillan of Princeton University, USA “For the development of asymmetric organotalysis”.

Nobel Prize 2021 in Chemistry
Nobel Prize 2021 in Chemistry

Nobel Prize 2021 in Chemistry

Many research fields and industries rely on the ability of chemists to build molecules that can form flexible and durable materials, store energy in batteries or prevent the development of diseases. This work requires catalysts, substances that control and accelerate the chemical reaction, without being part of the final product. For example, catalysts in cars convert toxic substances into harmful molecules in the exhaust fumes. Our bodies also have thousands of catalysts in the form of enzymes, which take away the molecules necessary for life.

Catalysts are thus the basic tools for chemists, but researchers have long believed that, in principle, only two types of catalysts were available: metals and enzymes. Benjamin List and David Macmillan were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021 for their independence in 2000 when they developed a third type of catalyst. This is called asymmetric organotalysis and it is formed on small organic molecules.

Johann Aquist, chair of the Nobel Committee on Chemistry, said: “The concept of catalysis is as simple as it is intelligent, and the fact is that many people have wondered why we didn’t think of it before. ۔ “

Organic catalysts have a stable framework of carbon atoms, to which more active chemical groups can be attached. They often contain common elements such as oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur or phosphorus. This means that these catalysts are environmentally friendly and inexpensive to produce.

The rapid expansion in the use of organic catalysts is mainly due to their ability to run disproportionate catalysis. When molecules are being formed, there are often situations where two different molecules can be formed, which mirror each other like our hands. Chemists often want only one of these, especially when preparing medicines.


Organotalysis has grown at an astonishing rate since 2000. Using these reactions, researchers can now more efficiently create anything from new pharmaceuticals to molecules that can capture light in solar cells. Thus, organocatalysts are bringing the greatest benefit to humanity. Chemistry

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