Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to duo scientists for developing a tool to build molecules

Nobel prizer for chemistry was awarded to German scientist Benjamin List and British scientist David WC MacMillan for developing “asymmetric organocatalysis” – a tool to build molecules.

In a release, the award winning committee said, “This has had a great impact on pharmaceutical research, and has made chemistry greener.” The German and the British scientists will receive gold medals and split the prize money of 10 million Swedish kronor (almost Rs 8.5 crore).

Catalysts, substances that control and accelerate chemical reactions, are important for many reserach areas and industrial uses, the release said. When the asymmetric organocatalysis by List and MacMillan was not developed, researchers believed there were only two type of catalysts metals and enzymes.

The Nobel prize committee said that in 2000 the scientists together formulated asymmetric organocatalysis, through which catalysts could be formed by building upon small organic molecules.

“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,” chair of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry, Johan Åqvist said.

American scientists David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian on Monday were awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine for their discovery of receptors that allow humans to feel temperature and touch.

Scientists Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi on Tuesday were given the Nobel Prize for physics for their contribution to complex systems to study climate science.


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