K. Barry Sharpless
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2001
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."
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
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.