A nobel synthesis

Evonik Degussa GmbHRodenbacher Chaussee 4, Hanau-Wolfgang 63457, GermanyMember of chimica oggi/Chemistry Today’s Scientific advisory board

The first Nobel Prize for chemistry was awarded in 1901 (toJacobus van’t Hoff). Up to 2010, the chemistry prize hasbeen awarded 102 times, to 160 laureates, of whom only fourhave been women (1). The most prominent area for awardingthe Nobel Prize for chemistry has been in organic chemistry, inwhich the Nobel committee includes natural products, synthesis,catalysis, and polymers. This amounts to 24 of the prizes. Readingthe achievements of the earlier organic chemists who wererecipients of the prize, we see that they were drawn to synthesisby the structural analysis and characterisation of naturalcompounds. In order to prove the structure conclusively, somesynthesis, even if only a partial synthesis, had to be attempted. It isimpressive to read of some of the structures which were deducedusing only classical degradation and synthesis reactions, for allthis work dates from an age before the everyday application ofspectroscopic analysis. ...