Richard R. Schrock


Richard R. Schrock

Photo: L.B. Hetherington

Richard R. Schrock
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2005

Born: 4 January 1945, Berne, IN, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA

Prize motivation: “for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis”

Prize share: 1/3


Richard Schrock was born in Berne, Indiana, in the U.S. After studies at the University of California, Riverside, he received his doctor’s degree at Harvard University in 1971. After a few years as a researcher at the DuPont chemical company in Wilmington, Delaware, he began working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has remained ever since. He has also been actively involved in a company engaged in development and applications within his research area. Richard Schrock is married and has two children.


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 1990 Richard Schrock succeeded in producing a metallic compound that effectively facilitates metathesis. Metathesis has enabled more effective and environmentally sound processes in industry.

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