Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021 jointly awarded to Benjamin List and David W.C. Macmillan

Nobel Prize 2021 Chemistry has been awarded to Benjamin List and David W.C. Macmillan for their separate work on asymmetric organocatalysis.

Created On: Oct 6, 2021 15:25 ISTModified On: Oct 6, 2021 17:46 IST
Nobel Prize 2021 Chemistry
Nobel Prize 2021 Chemistry

The 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been jointly awarded to  Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan.  Benjamin List from Germany and Scottish-born David MacMillan have been honoured for developing new tools for building molecules that have helped in making new drugs and are more environmentally friendly.

List and MacMillan share the 10-million Swedish crown ($1.14 million) prize for their separate work on asymmetric organocatalysis. According to the award-giving body, it was a new and indigenous tool for molecule building. 

Benjamin List, of the Max-Planck-Institut fuer Kohlenforschung, and David MacMillan, of Princeton University, United States, will share the prize in equal parts for the breakthroughs that were achieved independently of one another. 

Asymmetric organocatalysis: Work of Benjamin List and David MacMillan

Benjamin List and David MacMillan have been awarded for their separate work on asymmetric organocatalysis.

According to the official statement by the Royal Swedish Academy, organic catalysts can be used to drive multitudes of chemical reactions. It further added that using these reactions, researchers can now more efficiently construct anything from new pharmaceuticals to molecules that can capture light in solar cells. 

Catalysts are the molecules that remain stable while also enabling or speeding up the chemical reactions that are performed in labs or large industrial sectors.  Before the breakthrough by two laureates at the turn of the Millenium, only certain metals and complex enzymes were known to do the trick.

The academy stated that the new generation of catalysts were both more friendly for the environment and cheaper to produce. They have been the key to making new substances such as plastics, pharmaceuticals, flavours and perfumes. 

Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Previous winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry include  Marie Curie and Fredrick Sanger, who won the prestigious award twice. 

Till now, seven women have won Nobel Prize in Chemistry, including 2020's laureates Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier who were awarded the prize for creating genetic scissors that can edit the DNA. 

About Nobel Prize:

Nobel Prize is a prestigious award that comes with a gold medal and 10 million Swedish Kronor (over $1.14 million). The prize money comes from a bequest left by the creator of the Prize, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who passed away in 1895.

The prizes for the achievements in literature, science, peace was created and funded in the will of Alfred Nobel. Nobel Prizes have been awarded since 1901, with the economic prize first handed out in 1969. 

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