RSC honours Japanese Nobel Prize winners


12 June 2012

Chemistry Nobel Prize winners Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki will be honoured by the Royal Society of Chemistry at a ceremony in Edinburgh later today.

Professor Lesley Yellowlees, the President-Elect of the RSC, said she was delighted at presenting the Japanese scientists with their RSC Honorary Fellowships on the first day of the society's International Symposium on Advancing the Chemical Sciences.

"It is not every day you get to meet Nobel Prize winners so it gives me great pleasure to be able to present Professors Akira Suzuki and Ei-ichi Negishi with their Honorary Fellowship on behalf of the Royal Society of Chemistry," said Professor Yellowlees.

"Many awards and honours have been bestowed on the professors over their long and distinguished careers and it is wonderful they can be with us to receive this latest, which the RSC bestows on a distinguished number of people in the chemical sciences."

Akira Suzuki and Ei-ichi Negishi

Professors Suzuki, left, and Negishi after their 2010 Nobel Prize win.

Professor Negishi is best known for his discovery of the 'Negishi coupling' - a cross coupling reaction in organic chemistry involving an organozinc compound, an organic halide and a nickel or palladium catalyst creating a new carbon-carbon covalent bond. Professor Suzuki also has a reaction named after him: the 'Suzuki reaction' couples boronic acids (containing an organic substituent) to halides.

The professors were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, jointly with US scientist Richard F. Heck, for the discovery and development of their palladium-catalyzed cross couplings. This chemical tool has vastly improved the possibilities for chemists to create sophisticated chemicals.

The professors will be giving a public lecture tomorrow in the Chemistry Centre at Burlington House, Piccadilly, discussing the work that led them to achieve the Nobel Prize in 2010.

They then travel to Cardiff on Friday for a special one-day symposium to celebrate the contribution that organic chemistry makes to society and to mark the career of Professor Keith Smith, a RSC council member who will retire later this year from Cardiff University.

Professor Smith has spent most of his academic career in south Wales, having moved to Cardiff in 2007 after almost 35 years at Swansea University's department of chemistry.

Notes for editors:

  • Each year the RSC recognises the significant contribution that a small number of distinguished people have made to the chemical sciences, both inside and outside the UK by the awarding of an RSC Honorary Fellowships. Nominations are invited from Members of Council, Division Presidents, Section Chairs and Chairs of Interest Groups with the final decision being made by Council.

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