K. Barry Sharpless


K. Barry Sharpless

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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

Also awarded: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2022


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.

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