The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2005
Born: 10 October 1930, Menin, Belgium
Died: 27 January 2015, Tours, France
Affiliation at the time of the award: Institut Français du Pétrole, Rueil-Malmaison, France
Prize motivation: “for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis”
Prize share: 1/3
Organic substances—a multitude of chemical compounds that contain the element carbon—are the basis of all life. Metathesis is an important type of chemical reaction in assembling or synthesizing organic substances. In metathesis double bonds between carbon atoms are broken and reorganized at the same time as atomic groups change place. In 1971 Yves Chauvin showed how such reactions proceed in detail, including how certain metallic compounds facilitate the process. Metathesis has enabled more effective and environmentally sound processes in industry.