Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021: Benjamin List, Editor-in-Chief of SYNLETT, Editor of SYNFACTS and SOS Volume Editor, and David MacMillan, SOS author and winner of the Thieme-IUPAC Prize

Stuttgart, October 2021 - This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to Benjamin List, Germany, and David MacMillan, USA, for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis. In 2013, Benjamin List published a two-volume work on this topic with Thieme. As Editor-in-Chief of the journal SYNLETT of Thieme Chemistry, he has been largely responsible for its content since 2015. Furthermore, he has been an active member of the editorial board of the journal SYNFACTS since 2006. David MacMillan is the author of several chapters in Science of Synthesis, Thieme's digital reference work for organic synthetic chemistry. For SYNLETT, he authored the paper ”Strategies to Bypass the Taxol Problem.” In 2006, he received the Thieme IUPAC Prize.

Catalysts are substances that enable and accelerate chemical reactions but are not consumed in the reaction process itself. Therefore, catalysts are fundamental tools for chemists in research and industry. For a long time, only two types of catalysts were known: metal complexes and enzymes. In 2000, Benjamin List and David MacMillan independently developed a third possibility: The so-called asymmetric organocatalysis. For this achievement, both scientists have now been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021, which is endowed with a total of around 980,000 Euros.

”The laureates have developed a truly elegant tool for making molecules - simpler than one could ever imagine. It is already benefiting humankind greatly,” says Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede in the Nobel Committee's citation. 

The process makes it possible to use small organic substances as catalysts and thus make the production of molecules cheaper, safer, and more environmentally friendly. For example, researchers can produce molecules needed for the production and development of pharmaceuticals more quickly and efficiently. Organocatalysis is now recognized worldwide as the third class of catalysis principles and has undergone rapid development since its introduction. Benjamin List and David MacMillan continue to be leaders in this field.

Nobel prize Laureate Benjamin List is director of the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research in Mülheim an der Ruhr. In 2011, he joined the editorial board of SYNLETT, one of Thieme’s journals for chemical synthesis and has played a key role in shaping the journal as Editor-in-Chief since 2015. In 2013, he co-edited with Keiji Maruoka a two-volume edition on asymmetric organocatalysis as part of Thieme’s Science of Synthesis (SOS) Reference Library. He is also the mastermind and developer of the Select Crowd Review process, which combines up to date peer review with innovative technology. Select Crowd Review is used in SYNLETT and several other Thieme journals.

Benjamin List about publishing in the journal SYNLETT - YouTube    
Nobel prize laureate David MacMillan is a professor at Princeton University, USA. As an expert in stereoselective synthesis, he has authored several chapters for Science of Synthesis, Thieme’s curated and digital reference work on synthetic organic chemistry. SOS addresses the information needs of organic chemists and is a helpful resource for all those involved in designing synthetic routes, whether for fundamental research purposes or teaching and/or learning, by providing trusted and reliable information on the best synthetic methods available. In 2006, he received the Thieme֪–IUPAC Prize, which is awarded every two years at the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry - International Conference on Organic Synthesis (IUPAC–ICOS).

You will find freely accessible articles by Benjamin List and David MacMillan here

Direct link to asymmetric organocatalysis in Science of Synthesis (free access until November 30).

This link guides you directly to David MacMillan’s contribution in Science of Synthesis (free access until November 30)

For more information about Science of Synthesis, visit

Ben & David in SYNLETT FREE ACCESS Ben List’s SOS volume FREE ACCESS David MacMillan’s contribution in SOS (FREE ACCESS) Interview with Ben about Asymmetric Organocatalysis Interview with Ben about publishing in SYNLETT
Get Trial Access to the chemistry journals