William Knowles


William S. Knowles

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

William S. Knowles
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2001

Born: 1 June 1917, Taunton, MA, USA

Died: 13 June 2012, Chesterfield, MO, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: , St. Louis, MO, USA

Prize motivation: "for their work on chirally catalysed hydrogenation reactions."

Prize share: 1/4


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 1968 William Knowles discovered that certain metals had this effect during hydrogenation - reactions in which hydrogen gas is added to a chemical compound. Among other things, this enabled production of L-dopa medication to treat Parkinson's disease.

To cite this section
MLA style: William S. Knowles – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2021. Thu. 21 Oct 2021. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/chemistry/2001/knowles/facts/>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.