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 reactions - reactions in which electrons are emitted. Among other things, this has enabled production of various types of medication