Trio from USA and Denmark: Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to molecular researcher

They developed methods for the targeted construction of biomolecules - and have received the world's most prestigious research award for this.

Trio from USA and Denmark: Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to molecular researcher

They developed methods for the targeted construction of biomolecules - and have received the world's most prestigious research award for this. Two American scientists and one Dane are honored with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. It's the second time for one of them.

This year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to the two US researchers Carolyn Bertozzi and Barry Sharpless and Morten Meldal from Denmark for the development of methods for the targeted construction of molecules. This was announced by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. Bertozzi is the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize this year. Sharpless received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2001.

According to the Nobel Committee, Sharpless and Meldal laid the foundations for what is known as click chemistry. You share the prize with Bertozzi. She took click chemistry to a new dimension and started using it for cell mapping. She has also researched so-called bioorthogonal reactions.

The concept of click chemistry makes it possible to synthesize molecules from smaller units quickly and in a targeted manner. Click chemistry is said to be used in things like drug development, DNA mapping and the manufacture of materials. Researchers have used bioorthogonal reactions to improve the targeting of cancer drugs, for example.

Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to 187 different researchers. One of them, the Brit Frederick Sanger, received it twice. So far, seven of the award winners have been women, including Marie Curie in 1911, who discovered the radioactive elements polonium and radium. In 2021, the prize went to the German researcher Benjamin List and the British-born David W.C. MacMillan. They had developed an ingenious method for accelerating chemical reactions.

This year's most renowned award for chemists is endowed with a total of ten million crowns - the equivalent of around 920,000 euros. The award ceremony traditionally takes place on December 10th, the anniversary of the death of the founder Alfred Nobel.

On Monday, the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology was awarded to the Swedish researcher Svante Pääbo, who works in Leipzig, for his findings on human evolution. On Tuesday, Frenchman Alain Aspect, American John Clauser and Austrian Anton Zeilinger were named Physics Nobel Prize winners for their discoveries in quantum technology.

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