K. Barry Sharpless
Born: 28 April 1941, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for his work on chirally catalysed oxidation reactions"
Field: industrial chemistry, organic chemistry
Prize share: 1/2
Many molecules appear in two different reversed forms that have different chemical and biological effects. Through special catalysts - substances that facilitate chemical reactions without being consumed in them - it is possible to bring about a process in which only one of the reversed forms is produced. In the 1970s Barry Sharpless began developing methods for using catalysts with such properties during oxidation reactionsóreactions in which electrons are emitted. Among other things, this has enabled production of various types of medication.