Click- chemistry wins the Nobel prize

The Nobel prize this year is split equally between K. Barry Sharpless (Scripps Research, USA), Morten Meldal (Københavns universitet) and Carolyn R. Bertozzi (Stanford U., USA); the two first for laying the foundations of click chemistry, and prof. Bertozzi for putting it to good use in mapping living cells.

The principle of click chemistry is illustrated in the scheme, ”© Johan Jarnestad/The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences”. The reaction between an azide and an alkyne, in the presence of catalytic amounts of copper, produces quickly and without byproducts the corresponding substituted triazole, even in water and in the presence of air.

For a pop-sci introduction to this fascinating topic, please go here. A more in-depth exposition is to be found here.

It should be mentioned that this is prof. Sharpless´ second Nobel prize in chemistry. He also won in 2001, for his contributions to the development of «broadly useful and commercially viable catalytic oxidation chemistry for the selective production of bioactive chiral molecules.»