Two scientists have been awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work on building molecules that are mirror images of one another.
The Nobel Prize chose Benjamin List (Germany) and David W.C.MacMillan (Scotland) for their work in “the development of asymmetric organocatalysis.” The announcement was made on Wednesday at an event in Stockholm, Sweden.
Messrs List and MacMillan, working independently, created a new tool to build molecules. The technique, called asymmetric organocatalysis, has made it easier to produce asymmetric molecules – where one molecule mirrors the other.
“This concept for catalysis is as simple as it is ingenious, and the fact is that many people have wondered why we didn’t think of it earlier,” said Johan Aqvist, chairman of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry.
The award comes with a gold medal and a cash prize of over $1.14 million. The awards are done per the request by its creator, Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.
On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize in physiology or medicine to two American scientists for their discoveries into how the human body processes its senses, such as temperature and touch.
On Tuesday, the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to three scientists whose work found order in seeming disorder, helping to explain and predict complex forces of nature.