K. Barry Sharpless
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2022
Born: 28 April 1941, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Scripps Research, La Jolla, CA, USA
Prize motivation: “for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry”
Prize share: 1/3
Also awarded: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2001
Chemists strive to build increasingly complicated molecules. For a long time, this has been very time consuming and expensive. Barry Sharpless coined the concept of click chemistry, where molecular building blocks snap together quickly and efficiently. In 2002, Sharpless and Morten Meldal, independently of each other, developed an elegant and efficient chemical reaction: the copper catalysed azide-alkyne cycloaddition. This is now in widespread use and is utilised in the development of pharmaceuticals, for mapping DNA and creating new materials.