Noble Peace Prize 2005

Yves Chauvin, Robert H. Grubbs, Richard R. Schrock

What Did They Do?

Awarded "for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis".


KEY WORDS:

  • Metathesis- the exchange of parts of two substances (DOUBLE REPLACEMENT REACTION)
  • Organic Synthesis- carbon compounds of all sizes build up ALL life on earth


Think of METATHESIS as a molecular dance!

  • Atoms let go of each other = broken bonds
  • A new molecule comes up = a new bond
  • Everything happens so fast, like speed dancing!
  • Chemistry is all about keeping up with these super fast dancing molecules


Think of METATHESIS like a dance in which the couples change partners while the dance is going on!

  • Double bonds between carbon atoms are BROKEN
  • REFORM and cause atoms to change places


Their experiments led to the discoveries of molybdenum and ruthenium as catalysts which speed up chemical reactions. These catalysts contained a metal atom bound to a carbon atom with a double bond. These discoveries led to the design of new substances as catalysts, leading to the underlying mechanism in metathesis (a double replacement reaction).

Why Did They Win?

METATHESIS is used everyday in the chemical industry in
  • Creating medicine
  • Development of advanced plastic materials


Their practices contributed to the

  • Higher simplicity in synthesis methods (fewer resources, less wastage)
  • More efficiency in synthesis methods (stable in air)
  • More environmentally friendly synthesis methods (less hazardous waste products)


Their discoveries led to a great step forward for "green chemistry".

  • Reduced potential hazardous waste through smarter production


METATHESIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW IMPORTANT BASIC SCIENCE HAS BEEN APPLIED FOR THE BENEFIT OF MAN, SOCIETY, AND THE ENVIRONMENT.