Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Three scientists win 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry 

The award was given “for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry,” according to the Nobel committee.

• October 5, 2022
Morten Medal, Barry Sharpless and Carolyn Bertozzi

The 2022 Nobel prize in chemistry has been awarded to three scientists who helped spark a revolution in chemistry by discovering a method to “click” molecules together, even inside living organisms.

The University of Copenhagen’s Morten Meldal, Scripps Research’s Barry Sharpless, and Stanford University’s Carolyn Bertozzi were recognised for discovering and using elegant and effective chemical reactions to produce complex molecules for the pharmaceutical industry, map DNA, and create designer materials.

The award was given “for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry,” according to the Nobel committee.

The prize, worth 10 million Swedish kronor (£804,000), was presented on Wednesday by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. It will be split equally among the winners. 

A member of the Nobel chemistry committee, Professor Olof Ramström called the prize “a fantastic prize for a fantastic discovery.”

“They have been working on methods to try to connect molecules, to connect building blocks so they click together very simply and straightforwardly, in essentially the same way as you build Lego,” he said.

“You can have the Lego pieces and you can click them together and build very advanced houses, or tools, or vehicles, even spaceships. It’s the same with this chemistry, although at the very, very, molecular level,” he added.

Mr Sharpless joins a select group of people who have twice received the honor. His work on “chirally catalysed oxidation reactions” earned him the Chemistry Nobel Prize in 2001, making this the second time he has received the honor. Four additional scientists have also been awarded two Nobel Prizes, in addition to John Bardeen, Marie Curie, Linus Pauling, and Fred Sanger.

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