In news- The 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to German scientist Benjamin List and Scotland-born scientist David WC MacMillan “for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis.”
About the research-
- They developed a new and ingenious tool for molecule building- organocatalysis.
- Researchers long believed that there were just two types of catalysts available: metals and enzymes.
- Independently of each other, laureates Benjamin List and David MacMillan developed a third type – asymmetric organocatalysis – which builds upon small organic molecules.
- Organic catalysts have a stable framework of carbon atoms and more active chemical groups can be attached to them.
- They contain elements such as oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur or phosphorus, meaning that they are both environmentally friendly and cheap to produce.
- The increased use of organic catalysts is due to their ability to drive asymmetric catalysis.
- Whenever molecules are being built, two different molecules can form and chemists would want to use any one of them when producing pharmaceuticals.
- Both Benjamin List and David MacMillan have demonstrated how organic catalysts can be used to drive multitudes of chemical reactions.
- With the help of these reactions, chemists can now produce anything ranging from new pharmaceuticals to molecules that can capture light in solar cells.