Nobel Prizes: they’re our Wimbledon

Well done to Emma Radacanu and all the other top sportspersons who flit across the pages of the world’s sporting journals. There, we’ve said it. But readers of LSS, being an educated. discerning bunch, look elsewhere for persons to celebrate. That’s why autumn is important to us, because it’s Nobel Prize season.

Poor old Emma! One day she will learn the sports celebrities are here today and gone tomorrow. Ever heard of Alfredo di Stefano or David Beckham? Thought not.* But Nobel prize work is like laying stones in the enormous cathedrals of human learning. It’s important at the time-and other people will come along and build on it. So today we are going to celebrate the work of chemists Benjamin List and David MacMillan (see Nature below) We won’t say much, but their work will reduce pain, increase life and make people happier for centuries to come (assuming Mr Biden and Mr Xi don’t blow up the world between them) It’s without frontiers, because molecules don’t have countries. And in that sense, it tells a tale. Read, we beg you.

Elegant catalysts win chemistry Nobel

Chemists Benjamin List and David MacMillan share this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing a technique called asymmetric organocatalysis, which is widely used today for the production of drugs and other chemicals. The process relies on small organic molecules rather than big biological enzymes or compounds based on heavy metals. That makes it a cheaper, and more environmentally friendly, option for some reactions List and MacMillan separately developed some of the first organocatalysts and showed that they can drive asymmetric catalysis, where a reaction produces more of the left-handed version of a molecule than the right-handed one, for example. This is important in fields such as medicine, where the two mirror images of a molecule can produce very different biological effects.Nature | 5 min read

#joe biden #xi jinping #nobel prize #chemistry #catalyst #medecine

*they were Association footballers of bygone days

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