Serendipity is something necessary in research. We may find something interesting when we were looking for something else.’ Prof. Noyori used this strong word to start the first Nobel Laureate talk of the CEICS Nobel Campus. Prof. Noyori’s talk was a summary of the evolution of his research on Asymmetric Hydrogenation with Ru and Rh-BINAP catalysts that started back in the 70s.
After a detailed comparison of efficiencies and mechanisms of BINAP-Ru and BINAP-Rh catalysts on the hydrogenation of ketones, Prof. Noyori focused on the optimization of BINAP-Ru catalysis. He took us through his research on sterics and electronics of the ligands, kinetics, mechanisms and reaction conditions in BINAP-Ru catalyzed Asymmetric Hydrogenations. ‘Asymmetric catalysis is 4-Dimensional: It is a combination of the ideal 3D structure (x,y,z) and suitable kinetics (T)’- he said. Prof. Noyori finished off with an example of serendipity in his own research: The first BINAP-Rh catalyst was useless for Asymmetric Catalysis but was pivotal for the synthesis of menthol (3000 tones per year are produced by Takasago International Co. using (S-BINAP)-Rh catalyst) and contributed to major improvements in medicine.

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CEICS Nobel Campus

CEICS Campus d'Excel·lència

The Campus of International Excellence Southern Catalonia has organised the “Southern Catalonia Nobel Campus” from 1st to 4th July. The event brings together six Nobel Prize-winners in chemistry, world-class scientists and leaders in R&D&i in companies…


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The Campus of International Excellence Southern Catalonia has organised the “Southern Catalonia Nobel Campus” from 1st to 4th July. The event brings together six Nobel Prize-winners in chemistry, world-class scientists and leaders in R&D&i in companies active in the field of chemistry. Under the slogan “Chemistry for Life”, the goal of the Nobel Campus is to generate intense interaction between the Nobel laureates and young researchers who participate in the event in an environment conducive to dialogue and the formal and informal exchange of experiences and knowledge. 100 young researchers have been chosen to take part in this unique experience. These will be researchers with excellent academic backgrounds who have the opportunity to listen to and mingle with the six Nobel Prize-winners in chemistry and even present their research and get feedback on the projects they are working on. The six laureates, who have achieved the highest scientific recognition in the world, are Sidney Altman, Ryoji Noyori, Barry Sharpless, Aaron Ciechanover, Richard R. Schrock and Ada E. Yonath.

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