Richard Heck

October 6, 2010 by USA Post 

Richard Heck, (CNN) – The 2010 Nobel Prize for chemistry was awarded Wednesday to three teachers a tool to create carbon-carbon bonds in organic chemistry, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced.

The teachers are Richard Heck, University of Delaware, Ei-ichi Negishi of Purdue University and Akira Suzuki of Hokkaido University.

The tool developed is called professors palladium catalyzed cross coupling.

“This chemical tool has greatly enhanced the opportunities for chemists to create complex chemicals, such as carbon-based molecules as complex as those created by nature itself,” the committee said.

Negishi said by telephone from the United States he was sleeping when he heard the news an hour earlier. He said winning the grand prize was a dream of his, but he did not know whether he would win.

“Maybe I made almost half my goal,” he said of winning the Nobel Prize, “and certainly I would like to continue working for years to come. ”

The tool has applications in a wide range of areas, agriculture and pharmaceuticals to coatings for electronic components such as chips, the Nobel committee said.

“The key word here is versatility,” Negishi said. “One of our dreams is to be able to synthesize organic compounds of importance, if it is medically important compounds … or important from the point of view of science materials. And we believe that our technology and our chemistry are applicable to a wide range of compounds, without knowing what they might be. ”

In carbon-based, or organic chemistry is the “foundation of life” and head of fascinating natural phenomena including flower color, snake venom and bacteria that destroy substances such as penicillin, the committee said.

Organic chemistry has allowed humans to build on the chemistry of nature and gave humanity new drugs and “revolutionary” materials like plastic, he said.

“To create these complex chemicals, chemists must be able to join carbon atoms together,” said the Nobel committee. “However, carbon is stable and carbon atoms do not react easily with each other.”

Early methods used by chemists to the carbon atoms bind together are based on different techniques to render more reactive carbon, the committee said. The methods developed to create simple molecules, but scientists were left with too many “unwanted byproducts” in the synthesis of more complex molecules, they said.

“Palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling solved this problem and chemists with a tool more accurate and efficient to work with,” said the committee. “In the Heck reaction, the reaction Negishi and Suzuki reaction, carbon atoms respond a palladium atom, whereupon their proximity to each other kick off the chemical reaction. “

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