Professor Sharpless was awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with William S. Knowles and Ryoji Noyori for his discovery of several chemical reactions, including aminohydroxylation, dihydroxylation, and Sharpless asymmetric epoxidation, which have transformed asymmetric synthesis from science fiction to a relatively routine procedure. Professor Sharpless won the Nobel Prize for his part in unravelling chiral catalysts – asymmetrically engineered molecules that do not structurally mirror themselves. This breakthrough has enabled researchers to selectively control chemical reactions. Before his research, the safety of medicinal molecules was difficult and slow to measure. He discovered chemical reactions that quicken the process and create more effective molecules. This innovation drove the mass production of antibiotics, medicine, and painkillers during the first half of the 2000s.