Scientists Carolyn R Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and K Barry Sharpless on Wednesday won the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for development of technologies known as click chemistry and bioorthogonal reactions.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which gives the award for chemistry, said in a statement that their work is now used globally to explore cells and track biological processes.
Click chemistry enables molecular building blocks to snap together quickly to create new desired compounds. “Using bioorthogonal reactions, researchers have improved the targeting of cancer pharmaceuticals, which are now being tested in clinical trials,” the award-giving body said.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences noted that this year’s award is about making difficult processes easier.
“This year’s Prize in Chemistry deals with not overcomplicating matters, instead working with what is easy and simple,” said Johan Aqvist, the chair of the chemistry committee. “Functional molecules can be built even by taking a straightforward route.”
Sharpless and Meldal have been credited for laying the foundation for click chemistry, enabling fast and straightforward reactions.
Sharpless is affiliated with Scripps Research, California. He previously won a Nobel Prize in 2001. Meldal is at the University of Copenhagen.
Bertozzi, from Stanford University in California, won the prize for taking the click chemistry concept to a new dimension and utilising the process in living organisms.
The winners will share prize money of 10 million Swedish kronor.
The chemistry prize is the third Nobel given this week. On Tuesday, scientists Alain Aspect, John F Clauser and Anton Zeilinger won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their experiments with entangled photons. A day before that, Swedish scientist Svante Paabo won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discoveries about the evolution of the human race.
The other awards will be given in the fields of literature, peace and economics.