Thursday, October 5, 2017

Nobel Prize to Organic Chemistry: Decreasing Frequency

Today, on 4th October 2017, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. I was eagerly waiting to see any name from Organic chemistry field, but got disappointed as this year also no prize for hardcore Organic chemistry.

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017 was awarded to Prof. Jacques Dubochet (University of Lausanne, Switzerland), Prof. Joachim Frank (Columbia University, New York) and Prof. Richard Henderson (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, U.K.) for their extraordinary contribution to the developing of Cryo-Electron Microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution. Many congratulations to all of them for their hard work and recognition and also felt happy to read more about Cry-Electron Microscopy technique.

If we trace back. since last seven years, no one from pure Organic Chemistry area got Nobel Prize. Recent one in the year 2010 for Palladium chemistry in Organic synthesis for Heck/Negishi/Suzuki and prior to that one in the year 2005 for Alkene metathesis to Chauvin/Grubbs/Schrock team and in 2001 for Chirally catalysed hydrogenation reactions to Sharpless/Noyori/Knowles team. This simply means, the frequency of getting Nobel prize in Organic chemistry is reducing, although there being many deserving Organic chemists worldwide. One reason could be, the current research trend of organic synthesis area is not matching with changing selection criteria of this highest scientific award.

We Organic chemists may claim of being the only applied discipline among other disciplines of Science, producing huge number of molecules having vast applications from biotech, pharma to material science areas. We have many deserving Giants in Organic chemistry field, who are famous for Total synthesis of complex natural products, new reactions/method development, synthesis of novel applied molecules etc etc., but when we see research areas of award recipients in recent past, it brings the feeling that we are far away from current day trend and it is a kind of warning too.

Just simply making new chemistry or molecules is not enough. There seems to be an immediate need for changing the trend and research focus. Today, the research outcomes that have INTERDISCIPLINARY FLAVOR, bearing significance to solving the REAL WORLD PROBLEMS are having more recognition in Scientific society.....

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