Nobel laureates and their research teams at American Chemical Society meeting
NEW ORLEANS — At least nine Nobel laureates have research that will be presented here this week during the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society. Research from the laureates’ teams will be among almost 12,000 presentations during the event, expected to attract more than 14,000 scientists and others.
They are Robert H. Grubbs, Ph.D.; Richard R Schrock, Ph.D.; Brian K. Kobilka, Ph.D.; Robert J. Lefkowitz, Ph.D.; Ei-ichi Negishi, Ph.D.; George A. Olah, Ph.D.; Karl Barry Sharpless, Ph.D.; Ada Yonath, Ph.D.; and Ahmed Zewail, Ph.D.
Grubbs, who is with the California Institute of Technology, and Schrock, who is with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, shared the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Yves Chauvin for the development of the “metathesis method.” That new way to make plastics, medicines and other products was an advance in “green chemistry,” because it reduces the production of potentially hazardous waste compared with other approaches.
Kobilka, who is with the Stanford University School of Medicine, and Lefkowitz, who is with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Duke University Medical Center, shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors.” Their research showed how these receptors work to sense the environment of the cell.
Negishi, the Herbert C. Brown Distinguished Professor of Organic Chemistry at Purdue University, shared the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for palladium-catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis.” This helped develop techniques to synthesize complex carbon molecules that have had an enormous impact on the manufacture of medicines and other products.
Olah, who is with the University of Southern California, won the 1994 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for work on “carbocations,” charged molecules that were considered too unstable to study. Olah developed a way to isolate these molecules, which was useful in the oil and coal industries.
Sharpless, who is with The Scripps Research Institute, won the 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for his work on chirally catalysed oxidation reactions.” Sharpless worked on ways to synthesize just one of a set of “mirror” image molecules. This work led to advances in drug development.
Yonath, who is with the Weizmann Institute of Science, shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas A. Steitz “for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome.” They showed how the ribosome works at an atomic level to translate the information in DNA into proteins for life.
Zewail, who is with the California Institute of Technology, won the 1999 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for his studies of the transition states of chemical reactions using femtosecond spectroscopy.” Zewail showed that it was possible to watch chemical reactions in “slow-motion” using lasers to see how the molecules move.
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The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.
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