A guide for reporters on the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

(cross-posted with Chemjobber)

Somewhere in the good ol’ US of A, USA (DON’T HAVE TO CREDIT CHEMJOBBER):

3 chemistry professors, Richard Heck (formerly of the University of Delaware), Ei-ichi Negishi (Japanese descent, of Purdue University) and Akira Suzuki (Japanese descent, of Hokkaido University) were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistryfor palladium-catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis” by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. These are techniques for bonding (or connecting) smaller carbon-based molecules together to make larger carbon-based molecules.

Creating carbon-carbon bonds can be difficult and can sometimes involve using dangerous, impractical or environmentally unfriendly reaction chemistry; the techniques pioneered by Suzuki, Heck, and Negishi make these reactions simple enough for novice chemists to perform and practical enough that they can be run on multi-ton scale. Since their introduction in the late 1970’s, palladium-catalyzed chemical reactions have touched every part of the field of chemistry, including life-saving drugs, plastics and organic LEDs. The modern pharmaceutical industry would not be able to produce many of their products without palladium-catalyzed reactions.

The prize has been long-awaited by many chemists. “It’s about damn time”, said Chemjobber, a very junior synthetic organic chemist. “I don’t know what it took to get those Swedes to finally get their thumb out.” It is believed that part of the reason is the rules of the Nobel Prize: there can be no more than 3 awardees at one time, and they all must be living. Many chemists contributed to the field of palladium-catalyzed reactions. Professors Sonogashira, Tsuji, and Kumada could have all been part of this award, and the chemistry Nobel committee is notoriously controversy-shy.

Professor Heck has retired and currently lives with his wife in the Philippines. Professor Negishi is still teaching and research at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Professor Suzuki is still teaching and researching at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan.

(CJ here: Man, this is harder than you would think.)



  1. Bunsen Honeydew says:

    Agreed- it is about time but it was not easy which three people were the most deserving; however, I think that the choices were about as reasonable as they could be.

  2. can anybody please tell me where to get the video of the nobel price webcast? I want to see the presentation. There some pictures from it on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Nobelprize.org#!/photo.php?fbid=438326254102&set=a.438326054102.230496.81239734102&pid=5279415&id=81239734102

  3. Finally! It’s due time that the discoveries of the Pd-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions are awarded with a Nobel Prize.

    Being a Pd-chemist myself I’m very excited. And being a chemist in Sweden I’m amused by all the journalists trying to understand and explain what a Pd-catalyzed cross-coupling reaction in organic synthesis is.

  4. I don’t think I can overstate how excited I was this morning; it catapulted me from bleary eyed-ness to joy in seconds.

  5. And the Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene. Carbon is great, It rocks 😀

  6. faisal naveed says:

    I think the nobel prize councile should increase the no. of prizes.I think it should be 5 instead of 3 candidates at a time.Thanks

  7. Free access to articles from 2010 Nobel Prize Winners in chemistry in PDF format published in the Journal of Organometallic Chemistry and in Tetrahedron Letters.

  8. Finally! It’s due time that the discoveries of the please Pd-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions scheme provieded are awarded with a Nobel Prize.

  9. keshav saxena says:

    why p orbital hav dumbbell shape ?

  10. well keshav the question is quite a right one n i thinkit is due to its special arrangement n in fact the x ray structures have proved it
    n logically seen ifr the p block is participating in the formation of double bond then its ovious to b dumbelled bcoz otherwise how will the two faces contribute

  11. TO Give nobel prize to scientist is encouraging task.in this way lot of people do hard work.

  12. naresh chahar says:

    i really feel happy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *