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The 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to two young scientists, the German Benjamin List and the Scottish David MacMillan, based in the United States, for having developed a new tool for chemistry, asymmetric organocatalysis, cleaner and more ecological thanks to a third type catalyst. This new tool can be used to manufacture all kinds of products, from medicines to flavorings for the food industry.
The German Benjamin List and the scotch David MacMillan, the latter installed in the United States are two researchers, relatively young – both are 53 years old – and they are already winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021.
His achievement? To have revolutionized the field of chemistry in the field of catalysts, substances that control and accelerate chemical reactions.
Until not long ago, it was thought that there were only two types of catalysts available, metals and enzymes. But Benjamin List and David MacMillan, each one for their part, started a third type, using small organic molecules, giving birth to a new type of catalyst or a new procedure, asymmetric organocatalysis, much cheaper and cleaner for the environment.
This “ingenious” new way of building molecules can be used to make all kinds of products, from medicines to flavorings for the food industry.
Goran Hansson of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said during the award announcement on Wednesday, October 6, 2021, that the work of both scientists has already had a significant impact on pharmaceutical research.
Great joy at the ISQCH
The Institute for Chemical Synthesis and Homogeneous Catalysis (ISQCH) is a Joint Research Institute of shared ownership between the Superior Council of Scientific Investigations (CSIC) and the Zaragoza’s University (UZ). Created less than ten years ago, its researchers specialize precisely in this new type of catalyst and, as expected, they are very happy and excited with the news of this 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
RFI spoke with three members of this Institute, Rachel Perez Herrera, researcher, Juan Mangas, ARAID researcher (Aragón Innovation + Development program to attract young talents) and Eugenia Marquez Lopez, Senior Lecturer at the University of Zaragoza, Spain.
Listen to the full interview with the three specialists here:
MAG SCIENCE 2021_10_15 NOBEL QUIMICA 2021 ORGANOCATALYSIS long version f / v 15’06 “
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2021 Nobel Prize in Physics: Manabe, Hasselmann and Parisi, two climatological meteorologists and a theoretical physicist
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Mundo Ciencia – Benjamin List and David MacMillan, the fathers of asymmetric organocatalysis