Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2010

07 October 2010 - News

2010 has been a good Nobel Prize year for chemists with three solid organic chemists in the chemistry section Richard F. Heck, Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki and two material scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov in the physics section. The relevant Wikipedia pages have been prepared well in advance: the Heck reaction, Negishi reaction and the Suzuki reaction are all coupling reactions. Also see the very lengthy graphene article.

Congratulations are registered from totallysynthetic, In The Pipeline, everydayscientist and Lamentations on Chemistry. Chemjobber notes that a Nobel Prize for coupling reactions has long been awaited but that it took this long because of the three-limit rule. Contributions to the field have been made by many but if you wait long enough only three of them are left. Not entirely true, of the reactions listed on the coupling reaction page 4 inventors are very much alive and as of this week in a foul mood. Perhaps as a consolation for one of them, everydayscientist reported that in a recent episode of the Simpsons, Lisa Simpson predicted as a winner Kenkichi Sonogashira of Sonogashira reaction fame.

Speaking of predictive powers, in the h-index alluded to in a previous blog the only newly appointed Nobel winner listed is Negishi at position 379 (!) out of 550 entries. For comparison Buchwald (Buchwald-Hartwig amination) holds position 41 and Trost (allylic asymmetric substitution) number 18 with related reactions based on palladium. The Thompson list turned out equally non-predictive. The journal Chemical & Engineering News on the other hand appears to have a good nose for news. In May of this year their blog started a search for Richard Heck who had apparently disappeared from the radar but was tracked down in the Philippines. Chembark in his prediction had positioned Suzuki/Heck/Sonogashira/Tsuji (not Negishi) at number three.

More on coupling reactions in this blog: Palladium_cycle_in_Suzuki_reaction_made_visible, a Negishi coupling in action, Copper-free_Sonogashira_coupling and the Gold-catalysed_Sonogashira reaction

More on graphene-related blogs: Nanotubes_unzipped, Invisible Ink and Chemical_graphiti