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Bibliography – Technology – Science – Organic catalysts win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry

06.10.2021. 12:03

Asymmetric organic catalysis was discovered in the year 2000 and is developing by leaps and bounds.

Benjamin List and David Macmillan will receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year for their discovery of asymmetric organic catalysis, according to a Wednesday morning announcement from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Catalysts are essential tools for chemists to initiate and control chemical reactions. Previously, two forms of catalysis were known. One requires expensive metals (such as in automobile built-in catalysts) and the other requires enzymes that are sensitive and difficult to work with.

In 2000, German Benjamin List and American David Macmillan independently developed a third form of catalysis. Organic catalysts rely on a stable framework of carbon atoms to which active chemical groups can be attached.

Since the discovery of this field, it has developed at a tremendous pace and today organic catalysts are widely used from pharmaceuticals to solar cells. Organic catalysis also plays an important role in making industrial processes more environmentally friendly by replacing metals.

Last year, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Emmanuel Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna for their discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene engineering method.

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