What is the news?
Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021 has been awarded to German scientist Benjamin List and Scotland-born scientist David WC MacMillan “for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis.”
What is asymmetric organocatalysis?
Catalysts are substances that control and accelerate chemical reactions, without becoming part of the final product. For example, catalysts in cars transform toxic substances in exhaust fumes into harmless molecules.
Our bodies also contain thousands of catalysts in the form of enzymes, which chisel out the molecules necessary for life.
In the past, it was believed that there are just two types of catalysts available: metals and enzymes. Now, there is a third type of catalyst i.e., asymmetric organocatalysis.
These new catalysts are thus fundamental tools for chemists and many research areas and industries are dependent on chemists’ ability to construct molecules.
A new generation of small-molecule catalysts is more friendly for the environment and cheaper to produce.
Source: This post is based on the article “Duo win Chemistry Nobel for developing tool to build molecules” published in Times of India on 07 October 2021.