Professor Henri B. Kagan, University of Paris-Sud, France, has been awarded the Médaille Lavoisier, the highest honor of the Chemical Society of France (SCF; Société Chimique de France). The prize was presented on September 25, by Olivier Homolle, President of the SCF, at the triennal meeting of the SCF division of organic chemistry, “Journées de Chimie Organique”, in Palaiseau, France.
Kagan is honored for his seminal contributions to chirality in chemistry and asymmetric synthesis and his role as an ambassador of French chemistry.
Henri B. Kagan, born 1930 in Boulogne-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, France, graduated from Sorbonne University, France, in 1954 and École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Paris, France, in 1954. In 1960, he obtained his Ph.D. from the College of France, Paris, for research on modified steroids performed under the supervision of Dr. J. Jacques. He was a research associate with Professor A. Horeau, College of France, from 1962 until 1967, with a leave of absence in 1965 to work with Professor T. Mabry, University of Texas, Austin, USA.
Kagan was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Paris-South, Orsay, France, in 1967 and was promoted to full Professor in 1973. In 1993, Kagan became Professor at the Institut Universitaire de France and since 1999 he has been Emeritus Professor at the University Paris-Sud.
Henri B. Kagan is best known for the development of C2-symmetric ligands, e.g., DIOP ((2,3-O-isopropylidene-2,3-dihydroxy-1,4-bis(diphenylphosphino)butane) for asymmetric catalysis. This discovery led to the discovery of many related ligands that support catalysts used in a variety of practical applications. His discoveries in the field of asymmetric catalysis have had far-reaching impacts on the pharmaceutical industry.
He became a member of the French Academy of Science in 1991, a foreign member of the Polish Academy of Sciences in 1994, and of the Academy of Bashkirtostan in 2000, and a Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) in 2003. He has received numerous honors including: the Cahours Award from the French Academy of Science, the Silver medal of the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the Nagoya Medal of Organic Chemistry, the Wolf Prize in chemistry, the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Award for Eminent Scientists, and the Chevalier de la Légion d’ honneur.
A selection of publications by Kagan:
- Use of nonfunctionalized enamides and enecarbamates in asymmetric synthesis,
G. Kovuru, H. B. Kagan,
Chem. Rev. 2011, 111, 4599–4657.
- Enantioselective synthesis of 2-methyl indoline by palladium catalysed asymmetric C(sp3)–H activation,
A. Saithalavi, A. Cordi , H. B. Kagan,
Chem. Commun. 2011, 11483–11485.
- Regioselective reactions on a chiral substrate controlled by the configuration of a chiral catalyst,
R. R. Kumar, H. B. Kagan,
Adv. Synth. Catal. 2010, 352, 231–242.