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Nobel Prizes Organic Chemistry

The 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry: Using organic molecules as effective and environmentally friendly catalysts

Infographic on the 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The prize was awarded to Benjamin List and David MacMillan for their development of asymmetric organocatalysis. It allows specific mirror images of compounds to be made without the use of enzyme or metal catalysts, making reactions cheaper, more environmentally-friendly, and more efficient. The graphic shows two example reactions of organic molecules used as catalysts.
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The 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded jointly to Benjamin List and David MacMillan “for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis”.

To read about the science behind the prize in more detail, check out theĀ Nobel Prize press release here, or theĀ more detailed scientific background here (note that I feel obliged to point out that the latter link includes an example of limonene as a ‘mirror image molecule’ and repeats the false claim that one mirror image is responsible for the smell of oranges while the other is responsible for the smell of lemons. As lovely a story as this would be, it’s simply not true, and it’s a bit bizarre to see the Nobel Prize perpetuating this myth!)