Pair of chemists win Nobel for molecule building

This year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry honors a pair of chemists who developed a new and innovative way to build molecules. Their work is used to create new medicines and make chemistry greener.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced on Wednesday that it had decided to award the 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly to Benjamin List and David MacMillan for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis.

List and MacMillan independently developed an entirely new type of catalysis.

The committee chair called their work so simple and ingenious that many wonder why no one thought of it before.
Organic catalysts are cheap and environmentally friendly.

Researcher who had relied on rare plants and organisms can now create large volumes of curative substances using this molecule-building method.

The prize committee says it allows scientists to "construct anything from new pharmaceuticals to molecules that can capture light in solar cells".

List and MacMillan both still work in the field: List at Germany's Max Planck Institute for Coal Research and MacMillan at Princeton University in the US.