David W.C. MacMillan
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021
Born: 16 March 1968, Bellshill, United Kingdom
Affiliation at the time of the award: Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA
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, David MacMillan and Benjamin List 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.