Benjamin List

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Benjamin List
Benjamin List Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Preis award.jpg
Benjamin List at the Leibniz Prize 2016 ceremony
Born (1968-01-11) 11 January 1968 (age 53)
Education Free University of Berlin (Diplom)
Goethe University Frankfurt (PhD)
Relatives Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard (aunt) [1]
Awards Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize (2016)
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2021)
Scientific career
Institutions University of Cologne
Max Planck Institute for Coal Research
Hokkaido University
Thesis Synthese eines Vitamin B 12 Semicorrins  (1997)
Doctoral advisor Johann Mulzer
Other academic advisors Richard Lerner
Carlos F. Barbas III

Benjamin List (born 11 January 1968) is a German chemist who is one of the directors of the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research and professor of organic chemistry at the University of Cologne. He co-developed organocatalysis, a method of accelerating chemical reactions and making them more efficient. He shared the 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with David MacMillan "for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis". [2]



Born to a upper-middle-class family of scientists and artists [1] in Frankfurt, List is a great-grandson of the cardiologist Franz Volhard and a 2nd great-grandson of the chemist Jacob Volhard. [3] His aunt, the 1995 Nobel laureate in medicine Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, is the sister of his mother, architect Heidi List. [1] [4] At age three, his parents divorced. [3]

Career and research

List obtained his Diplom (M.Sc.) degree in chemistry from the Free University of Berlin in 1993, and his PhD from Goethe University Frankfurt in 1997. His doctoral dissertation was titled Synthese eines Vitamin B 12 Semicorrins (Synthesis of a vitamin B 12 semicorrin), [5] [6] and was advised by Johann Mulzer. [7] [8] List worked at the Scripps Research Institute Department of Molecular Biology in La Jolla, U.S. as a postdoctoral researcher in Carlos F. Barbas III and Richard Lerner's research groups [9] from 1997 to 1998 with a scholarship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation [3] and as an assistant professor from 1999 to 2003. [10] [11]

In 2003 he returned to Germany to become group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research, and in 2005 he became one of the institute's directors, heading the Homogeneous Catalysis Department. [3] [12] He served as the institute's managing director from 2012 to 2014. [13] He has held a part-time position as an honorary professor of organic chemistry at the University of Cologne since 2004. [10] [11] List is also a principal investigator at the Institute for Chemical Reaction Design and Discovery, Hokkaido University since 2018. [14] [15] He is the editor-in-chief of the scientific journal Synlett . [16] As of 2021, he has an h-index of 95 according to Google Scholar [17] and of 86 according to Scopus. [18]

Catalyst for asymmetric reactions, L-proline L-Prolin - L-Proline.svg
Catalyst for asymmetric reactions, L-proline

List is considered to be one of the founders of organocatalysis, which uses non-metal and non-enzyme catalysts. [19] In particular, while still an assistant professor he discovered the possibility of using the amino acid proline as an efficient chiral catalyst. [19] [20] This takes place in intermolecular aldol reactions, in which carbon atoms from two different molecules are bonded together, induced by proline. [19] [20] [21] The development is based on the Hajos–Parrish–Eder–Sauer–Wiechert reaction. [22] [23] Subsequently, he developed the first proline-catalyzed Mannich, [24] Michael, [25] and α-amination reactions. [26] [27] He found asymmetric catalysis (especially Asymmetric counteranion directed catalysis, ACDC). [28] [29] He developed also new methods of textile organic catalysis, in which soluble organic catalysts and textiles are bound. [30] These methods could, for example, help to treat water where there is no fresh water. [19] Asymmetric organocatalysis [27] is particularly important in bioactive organic compounds, where the chirality of the compounds is important, for example in drug production. [21]

On 6 October 2021, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with David MacMillan "for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis." [2] The development has great influence on pharmaceutical research and the drug production and "made chemistry greener". [31]

Personal life

List married Dr. Sabine List in La Jolla in 1999 and they have two sons, Theo and Paul. [32] [33] [34] [35] [3] They all survived the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. [35]

List's parents sought to raise their children with an anti-authoritarian parenting style; he has admitted occasionally using the approach with his own children, stating that "you may only be 12, but if you think it will do you good to eat ten chocolate bars, then go ahead and do it. I have faith in you. But my advice is: I wouldn’t do it." [3]

Honors and awards

Source: [36]

Selected works

Source: [15]

Related Research Articles

Enantioselective synthesis form of chemical synthesis

Enantioselective synthesis, also called asymmetric synthesis, is a form of chemical synthesis. It is defined by IUPAC as: a chemical reaction in which one or more new elements of chirality are formed in a substrate molecule and which produces the stereoisomeric products in unequal amounts.

Robert H. Grubbs American chemist and Nobel Laureate (born 1942)

Robert Howard GrubbsForMemRS is an American chemist and the Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. He was a co-recipient of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on olefin metathesis.

Organocatalysis Method in organic chemistry

In organic chemistry, organocatalysis is a form of catalysis in which the rate of a chemical reaction is increased by an organic catalyst. This "organocatalyst" consists of carbon, hydrogen, sulfur and other nonmetal elements found in organic compounds. Because of their similarity in composition and description, they are often mistaken as a misnomer for enzymes due to their comparable effects on reaction rates and forms of catalysis involved.

David William Cross MacMillan is a Scottish chemist and the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University, where he was also the Chair of the Department of Chemistry from 2010 to 2015. He shared the 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Benjamin List "for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis".

The Hajos–Parrish–Eder–Sauer–Wiechert reaction in organic chemistry is a proline catalysed asymmetric aldol reaction. The reaction is named after its principal investigators, Zoltan Hajos others, from Hoffmann-La Roche and Schering AG. Discovered in the 1970s the original Hajos-Parrish catalytic procedure – shown in the reaction equation, leading to the optically active bicyclic ketol – paved the way of asymmetric organocatalysis. The Eder-Sauer-Wiechert modification lead directly to the optically active enedione, through the loss of water from the bicyclic ketol shown in figure.

Max Planck Institute for Coal Research

The Max Planck Institute for Coal Research is an institute located in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany specializing in chemical research on catalysis. It is one of the 86 institutes in the Max Planck Society (Max-Planck-Gesellschaft). It was founded in 1912 in Mülheim an der Ruhr as the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Coal Research to study the chemistry and uses of coal, and became an independent Max Planck Institute in 1949.

Within the area of organocatalysis, (thio)urea organocatalysis describes the use of ureas and thioureas to accelerate and stereochemically alter organic transformations. The effects arise through hydrogen-bonding interactions between the substrate and the (thio)urea. Unlike classical catalysts, these organocatalysts interact by non-covalent interactions, especially hydrogen bonding. The scope of these small-molecule H-bond donors termed (thio)urea organocatalysis covers both non-stereoselective and stereoselective applications.

Zoltan George Hajos is a Hungarian-born and trained American organic chemist. Originally an academic in his native Budapest, then an industrial chemist in the pharmaceutical industry, he is known for the Hajos–Parrish–Eder–Sauer–Wiechert reaction.

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Anthony Barrett British chemist

Anthony Gerard Martin Barrett FRS, FMedSci is a British chemist, and Sir Derek Barton Professor of Synthesis, Glaxo Professor of Organic Chemistry at Imperial College London. He is Director of the Wolfson Centre for Organic Chemistry in Medical Science. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1999 and Academy of Medical Sciences in 2003. He obtained a BSc as well as PhD from Imperial College London in 1973 and 1975 respectively.

Proline organocatalysis is the use of proline as an organocatalyst in organic chemistry. This theme is often considered the starting point for the area of organocatalysis, even though early discoveries went unappreciated. Modifications, such as MacMillan’s catalyst and Jorgensen's catalysts, proceed with excellent stereocontrol.

Frank Glorius is a German chemist and W3-Professor of organic chemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster.

Scott E. Denmark

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Ben Feringa Dutch Nobel laureate in chemistry

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Abigail Gutmann Doyle is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she holds the Saul Winstein Chair in Organic Chemistry. From 2017 to July 2021, she was the A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University, where she had served on the faculty since 2008. Her research focuses on the development of new chemical transformations in organic chemistry.

Clark Landis is an American chemist, whose research focuses on organic and inorganic chemistry. He is currently a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He was awarded the ACS Award in Organometallic Chemistry in 2010, and is a fellow of the American Chemical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Sukbok Chang

Sukbok Chang is a South Korean organic chemist. He is a distinguished professor in the Department of Chemistry at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). He is also the director of the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) Center for Catalytic Hydrocarbon Functionalizations (CCHF). He was an associate editor on ACS Catalysis and has served on the editorial advisory boards of The Journal of Organic Chemistry, Journal of the American Chemical Society, and Accounts of Chemical Research. His major research interest is transition metal catalyzed C-H bond functionalization for the carbon-carbon bond and carbon-heteroatom bond formation.

Dhevalapally B. Ramachary

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  5. OCLC   613569311
  6. Mulzer, Johann; List, Benjamin; Bats, Jan W. (1 June 1997). "Stereocontrolled Synthesis of a Nonracemic Vitamin B12 A−B-Semicorrin". Journal of the American Chemical Society. American Chemical Society (ACS). 119 (24): 5512–5518. doi:10.1021/ja9700515. ISSN   0002-7863.
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  9. Service, Robert F. (6 October 2021). "Nobel honors molecule builders who made chemistry easier and greener". Science . doi:10.1126/science.acx9266 . Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  10. 1 2 "List, Benjamin". Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. 23 September 2021. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  11. 1 2 "Vita Prof. List". 10 May 2021. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  12. "Board of Directors". Max Planck Institute for Coal Research. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  13. "Benjamin List" (PDF). Purdue University. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  14. "ICReDD Principal Investigator, Prof. Benjamin List won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021!! Huge congratulations!!". ICReDD: Institute for Chemical Reaction Design and Discovery, Hokkaido University (WPI-ICReDD). 6 October 2021. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  15. 1 2 "LIST, Benjamin". ICReDD: Institute for Chemical Reaction Design and Discovery, Hokkaido University (WPI-ICReDD). 23 December 2020. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  16. List, Benjamin (30 May 2017). "Crowd-based peer review can be good and fast". Nature. 546 (7656): 9. Bibcode:2017Natur.546....9L. doi: 10.1038/546009a . PMID   28569830.
  17. Benjamin List publications indexed by Google Scholar OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
  18. "Scopus preview – List, Benjamin – Author details – Scopus". Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  19. 1 2 3 4 "DFG gratuliert Benjamin List zum Nobelpreis für Chemie". (in German). Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  20. 1 2 List, Lerner & Barbas 2000.
  21. 1 2 Castelvecchi, Davide; Stoye, Emma (6 October 2021). "'Elegant' catalysts that tell left from right scoop chemistry Nobel". Nature. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi:10.1038/d41586-021-02704-2. ISSN   0028-0836. PMID   34616090.
  22. List, Benjamin (2002). "Proline-catalyzed asymmetric reactions". Tetrahedron. Elsevier BV. 58 (28): 5573–5590. doi:10.1016/s0040-4020(02)00516-1. ISSN   0040-4020.
  23. Hajos, Zoltan G.; Parrish, David R. (1974). "Asymmetric synthesis of bicyclic intermediates of natural product chemistry". The Journal of Organic Chemistry. American Chemical Society (ACS). 39 (12): 1615–1621. doi:10.1021/jo00925a003. ISSN   0022-3263.
  24. List, Benjamin; Pojarliev, Peter; Biller, William T.; Martin, Harry J. (10 January 2002). "The Proline-Catalyzed Direct Asymmetric Three-Component Mannich Reaction: Scope, Optimization, and Application to the Highly Enantioselective Synthesis of 1,2-Amino Alcohols". Journal of the American Chemical Society. American Chemical Society (ACS). 124 (5): 827–833. doi:10.1021/ja0174231. ISSN   0002-7863. PMID   11817958.
  25. List, Benjamin; Pojarliev, Peter; Martin, Harry J. (14 July 2001). "Efficient Proline-Catalyzed Michael Additions of Unmodified Ketones to Nitro Olefins". Organic Letters. American Chemical Society (ACS). 3 (16): 2423–2425. doi:10.1021/ol015799d. ISSN   1523-7060. PMID   11483025.
  26. List, Benjamin (30 April 2002). "Direct Catalytic Asymmetric α-Amination of Aldehydes". Journal of the American Chemical Society. American Chemical Society (ACS). 124 (20): 5656–5657. doi:10.1021/ja0261325. ISSN   0002-7863. PMID   12010036.
  27. 1 2 List, Benjamin (1 December 2007). "Introduction: Organocatalysis". Chemical Reviews. American Chemical Society (ACS). 107 (12): 5413–5415. doi:10.1021/cr078412e. ISSN   0009-2665.
  28. Mayer & List 2006.
  29. Mahlau, Manuel; List, Benjamin (28 November 2012). "Asymmetric Counteranion-Directed Catalysis: Concept, Definition, and Applications". Angewandte Chemie International Edition. Wiley. 52 (2): 518–533. doi:10.1002/anie.201205343. ISSN   1433-7851. PMID   23280677.
  30. Lee et al. 2013.
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  32. Harmsen, Torsten (6 October 2021). "Ehemaliger Berliner Student Benjamin List gewinnt Chemie-Nobelpreis". Berliner Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  33. Müller-Jung, Joachim (6 October 2021). "Katalysator-Forscher List: Respektlos zum Nobelpreis". FAZ.NET (in German). Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  34. "The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021, Benjamin List Interview". 6 October 2021. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  35. 1 2 "Benjamin List: Der Nobelpreisträger, der den Tsunami überlebte". WDR. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  36. "Awards Prof. List". Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung. 10 May 2021. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
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