The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021
Born: 11 January 1968, Frankfurt-on-the-Main, Germany
Affiliation at the time of the award: Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany
Prize motivation: “for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis”
Prize share: 1/2
Catalysts, substances that accelerate chemical reactions, without becoming part of the final product, are important for chemists' ability to construct molecules. In 2000, Benjamin List and David MacMillan, independent of each other, developed a new type of catalysis that builds upon small organic molecules. An important capacity of many such catalysts is the ability to build only one of two mirror image variants of a molecule. Such catalysts are used for example in pharmaceutical research and have made chemistry more environmentally friendly.
Their work and discoveries range from paleogenomics and click chemistry to documenting war crimes.
See them all presented here.