Current track



Current show

Non-Stop HMR!

06:00 19:00

Scotland-born scientist joint winner of Nobel Prize in chemistry

Written by on 06/10/2021

A Scotland-born scientist has been jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry with a German scientist for their work on developing a new way for building molecules.

David WC MacMillan of Princeton University and Benjamin List of the Max Planck Institute were announced as the winners by Goran Hansson, secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

The Nobel panel said the scientists in 2000 had independently developed a new way of catalysis called “asymmetric organocatalysis”.

“It’s already benefiting humankind greatly,” Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, a member of the Nobel panel, said.

Speaking after the announcement, Professor List said the award was a “huge surprise”.

“I absolutely didn’t expect this,” he said, adding that he was on holiday in Amsterdam with his family when the call from Sweden came.

Prof List said he did not initially know that Professor MacMillan was working on the same subject and figured his hunch might just be a “stupid idea” until it worked.

More on Nobel Prize

“I did feel that this could be something big,” he added.

Pictures of the winners were displayed on a screen during the announcement
Image: Pictures of the winners were displayed on a screen during the announcement

It is common for several scientists who work in related fields to share the prize.

Last year the prize went to Emmanuelle Charpentier of France and Jennifer A Doudna of the United States for developing a gene-editing tool that has revolutionised science by providing a way to alter DNA.

The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (£800,000).

The prize money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.

On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the prize in physiology or medicine to Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries into how the human body perceives temperature and touch.

The Nobel Prize in physics was awarded on Tuesday to three scientists whose work found order in seeming disorder, helping to explain and predict complex forces of nature, including expanding our understanding of climate change.

Prizes will also be awarded this week for outstanding work in the fields of literature, peace and economics.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

Tagged as