Luis F. Leloir
Born: 6 September 1906, Paris, France
Died: 2 December 1987, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Affiliation at the time of the award: Institute for Biochemical Research, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Prize motivation: "for his discovery of sugar nucleotides and their role in the biosynthesis of carbohydrates"
Prize share: 1/1
In nature organisms are composed of an enormously varied number of chemical compounds, with the element carbon as a common component. The binding energy between atoms in carbon compounds determines their structure, but the structures are not completely rigid. They are flexible to a certain degree. Consequently, molecules can assume different conformations, which has ramifications for their way of reacting with other substances. At the end of the 1940s, Odd Hassel published pioneering works about different conformations for ring-shaped molecules with six carbon atoms.