The Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm has announced that scientists Carolyn Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and Karl Barry Sharpless are the winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of an “ingenious” tool for building molecules.
Bertozzi is the eighth woman to receive the prize , and Sharpless is the fifth scientist to receive two Nobel prizes, the committee said.
According to the chairman of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry, Johan Aqvist, this year’s award is about “not overcomplicating things, but working with what is easy and simple. Click chemistry and bioorthogonal reactions have brought chemistry to the era of functionality ”, exposes the organization’s statement.
The researchers have been honored for their development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry: linking molecules and how to do it in living cells.
“So-called ‘click chemistry’ has been in numerous bids for Nobel prizes in recent years. In the early 2000s, Barry Sharpless—by the way, another Nobel winner for asymmetric epoxidation reactions—introduced the apparently simple concept of doing fast reactions, with few reactants, with few by-products, and, if possible, in a aqueous solvent. Basic science, which, as often happens, laid the foundations for so-called bioorthogonal chemistry, when Carloyn Bertozzi used the methodology developed by Sharpless to carry out chemical reactions in living organisms, with enormous potential for the development of new drugs. The rest is already the history of Chemistry and science”, explains to the Science Media Center Héctor Busto Sancirián, Professor of the Organic Chemistry area, Department of Chemistry, and member of the Biological Chemistry research group of the University of La Rioja after hearing the decision of the jury for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2021?
The 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry went to Benjamin List and David WC MacMillan for their development of an ‘ingenious tool’ for building molecules. The tool, called ” asymmetric organocatalysis,” enables research into new pharmaceuticals and solar cells, which has been used to improve solar panels and speed up the production of several drugs, including Tamiflu and the antidepressant Paxil. Organic catalysts can be used to power a multitude of chemical reactions, and by using these reactions, researchers can now more efficiently build anything from new pharmaceuticals to molecules that can capture light in solar cells.
Other prestigious previous recipients of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry include Marie Skłodowska Curie, who received the Nobel Prize in 1911 , becoming the first person to receive two Nobel Prizes: the first for Physics in 1903 and the second for Chemistry for his research on radium and its compounds, in 1911.
The next Nobels
When will the other Nobel prizes be announced? In the coming days, prizes will also be awarded for outstanding works in the fields of literature, peace and economics (next Thursday, Friday and Monday, respectively).
The 2021 Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded last year to Abdulrazak Gurnah won for “his uncompromising and compassionate insight into the effects of colonialism and the fate of refugees in the chasm between cultures and continents.”
The 2021 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Maria Ressa and Dmitri A. Muratov, both journalists, who won for their efforts to protect press freedom.
The 2021 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences went to David Card, Joshua D. Angrist, and Guido W. Imbens.
Referencia: ROYAL SWEDISH ACADEMY OF SCIENCES / Nobel Prize