OREANDA-NEWS. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2021 was awarded to German Benjamin List and British-born American scientist David Macmillan for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis. The Nobel Committee for Chemistry of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm announced its decision on Wednesday, October 6.

In a statement, the award committee called the discovery of Liszt and Macmillan, which they made independently in 2000, «an ingenious tool for building molecules» that «had a great impact on pharmaceutical research and made chemistry more environmentally friendly».

Over the past 20 years, «organocatalysis has been developing at an amazing rate», and List and Macmillan «remain leaders in this field». They have demonstrated that organic catalysts can be used to trigger a variety of chemical reactions, the statement says. In particular, they are used in new pharmaceuticals and in the creation of molecules that capture light in solar cells, and «bring the greatest benefit to humanity», the committee noted.

Benjamin List directs the Max Planck Institute for Research on the Properties of Coal in Muhlheim an der Ruhr in western Germany. David McMillan is doing research at Princeton University.