The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2001
Born: 3 September 1938, Kobe, Japan
Affiliation at the time of the award: Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan
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 Ryoji Noyori developed methods for using catalysts with these properties during hydrogenation—reactions in which hydrogen gas is added to a chemical compound. Among other things, this has enabled production of various types of medication.
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