University Chemistry ›› 2022, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (1): 2112014.doi: 10.3866/PKU.DXHX202112014

• Chemistry Today • Previous Articles    

The 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry: The Simpler the Better

Xiangqing Feng1,2, Haifeng Du1,2,*()   

  1. 1 CAS Key Laboratory of Molecular Recognition and Function, Institute for Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2021-12-07 Accepted:2021-12-17 Published:2021-12-22
  • Contact: Haifeng Du


Organic molecules have become one novel type of catalysts developed after enzymes and metal catalysts, which are named as organocalysis, the third type of catalysis. As a new tool toward the precise construction of molecules, organocatalysis has a huge impact on the development of chiral new drugs, which has been used in the fields of pharmacy, pesticides, chemicals, materials, and so on. The 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to German chemist Benjamin List and American chemist David W. C. MacMillan for their pioneering and important contributions to this field. This article will briefly describe chirality and asymmetric catalysis, especially, the history of organocatalysis development, its advantages and future prospects.

Key words: Chirality, Asymmetric catalysis, Organic small molecule catalysis, Nobel prize in chemistry