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The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2005


The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2005 jointly to Yves Chauvin Institut Français du Pétrole, Rueil-Malmaison, France, Robert H. Grubbs California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, CA, USA and Richard R. Schrock Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA "for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis".

Metathesis – a change-your-partners dance

This year’s Nobel Prize Laureates in chemistry have made metathesis into one of organic chemistry’s most important reactions. Fantastic opportunities have been created for producing many new molecules - pharmaceuticals, for example. Imagination will soon be the only limit to what molecules can be built!

Organic substances contain the element carbon. Carbon atoms can form long chains and rings, bind other elements such as hydrogen and oxygen, form double bonds, etc. All life on Earth is based on these carbon compounds, but they can also be produced artificially through organic synthesis.

The word metathesis means ’change-places’. In metathesis reactions, double bonds are broken and made between carbon atoms in ways that cause atom groups to change places. This happens with the assistance of special catalyst molecules. Metathesis can be compared to a dance in which the couples change partners.

Eva Krutmeijer | alfa
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