Nobel Prize for chemistry goes to trio for work on molecule attachment

Nobel Prize for chemistry goes to trio for work on molecule attachment
K Barry Sharpless (AP)

The Nobel Prize for chemistry has been awarded to US scientists Carolyn R Bertozzi and K Barry Sharpless and Denmark’s Morten Meldal for developing a way of “snapping molecules together” that can be used to design medicines.

Their work, known as click chemistry and bio-orthogonal reactions, is used to make cancer drugs, map DNA and create materials that are tailored to a specific purpose.

Ms Bertozzi is based at Stanford University in California, Mr Meldal is at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and Mr Sharpless is affiliated with Scripps Research, California.

Mr Sharpless previously won a Nobel Prize in 2001. He is the fifth person to receive the award twice.

Hans Ellegren, secretary general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, announced the winners on Wednesday at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

Last year the prize was awarded to scientists Benjamin List and David WC MacMillan for finding an ingenious and environmentally cleaner way to build molecules that the Nobel panel said is “already benefiting humankind greatly”.

A week of Nobel Prize announcements kicked off on Monday with Swedish scientist Svante Paabo receiving the award in medicine for unlocking secrets of Neanderthal DNA that provided key insights into our immune system.

Three scientists jointly won the prize in physics on Tuesday. Frenchman Alain Aspect, American John F Clauser and Austrian Anton Zeilinger had shown that tiny particles can retain a connection with each other even when separated, a phenomenon known as quantum entanglement, that can be used for specialised computing and to encrypt information.

The literature award will be announced on Thursday.

The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday and the economics award will be bestowed on Monday October 10.

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