Priestley Medal 2019 for K. Barry Sharpless

Priestley Medal 2019 for K. Barry Sharpless

Author: ChemViews Magazine (Photo Credit: Ike Sharpless)

K. Barry Sharpless, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA, has received the 2019 Priestley Medal, the highest honor of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The prize is awarded annually to recognize distinguished services to chemistry.

Sharpless is honored for “the invention of catalytic, asymmetric oxidation methods, the concept of click chemistry and development of the copper-catalyzed version of the azide-acetylene cycloaddition reaction”. The award was presented at the 257th ACS National Meeting & Exposition in Orlando, FL, USA.

K. Barry Sharpless studied chemistry at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA, and Stanford University, CA, USA, where he received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1968. He then performed postdoctoral research with James P. Collman at Stanford and with Konrad E. Bloch at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA. In 1970, Sharpless joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge. From 1977 to 1980, he was part of the faculty at Stanford University. Since 1990, he is W. M. Keck Professor at the Scripps Research Institute.

Among many other honors, Sharpless has received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2001, together with William Standish Knowles and Ryōji Noyori, “for his work on chirally catalyzed oxidation reactions”. His research concentrates on developing methods for selectively controlling chemical reactions, with a special focus on the oxidation of olefins.

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