Richard F. Heck
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2010
Born: 15 August 1931, Springfield, MA, USA
Died: 9 October 2015, Manila, Philippines
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Delaware, USA
Prize motivation: “for palladium-catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis”
Prize share: 1/3
Nature is full of organic substances—a multitude of chemical compounds that contain the element carbon. Using chemical methods to combine or synthesize organic substances is important in both scientific and industrial contexts. At the end of the 1960s, Richard Heck began developing chemical reactions in which carbon atoms are bound together so that new compounds are created. The reactions create cross couplings between carbon atoms, with the metal palladium as a catalyst. Palladium facilitates the reaction without becoming incorporated in the final product.