The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2005

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Metathesis has many applications in the pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, chemicals, biotechnology, polymer and paper industries. Below, a Schrock catalyst is being used for polymerisation with ring-opening metathesis. The polymer product in modified form is a high-performance plastic that can be used for CD surface coating.

Richard Schrock was the first to succeed in producing a metal compound that functioned just as he wished, as an efficient catalyst for metathesis reactions. This was in 1990. Schrock had
tried many metals, but the ones that finally emerged as most suitable were tungsten and molybdenum. With this discovery it was soon realised what enormous possibilities had been opened up. It was like finding a well-lighted trail through a dark and tangled forest.

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