News / Science & Technology

American, 2 Japanese Win Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Co-recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry Purdue University professor, Japanese Ei-ichi Negishi
Co-recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry Purdue University professor, Japanese Ei-ichi Negishi
Kane Farabaugh

Purdue University professor, Japanese Ei-ichi Negishi is a co-recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.  He shares the award with Japanese Akira Suzuki of Hokkaido University and American Richard Heck of the University of Delaware.  Together, their work created a method to build complex organic molecules that are now used to manufacture a range of products - from pharmaceuticals to electronics.  Our correspondent spoke with Negishi at his office in Indiana shortly after the Nobel announcement was made.

For 75-year-old Ei-ichi Negishi, winning the 2010 Nobel Prize in chemistry was an achievement more than 30 years in the making.

Negishi's research led to metal based reactions, called palladium catalyzed cross coupling, that enables the synthesis of complex organic compounds.

"It's like a LEGO game with chemical pieces," said Professor Negishi.

Negishi says his research discovered which metals serve as a catalyst to get organic compounds to "snap" together with other compounds.

The result is a process that efficiently and economically builds materials used to make products such as medicines to treat the HIV virus and colon cancer, and liquid visual displays for modern electronics.

"And many of them, used on TV display panels or cell phones - these liquid crystals, they are synthesized by using our cross coupling," said Negishi.

Although most people have used products that stem from Negishi's research, he says the medical benefits have been the most rewarding for him.

"Just by looking at the TV screen - without knowing what is behind the panel, you wouldn't appreciate what we have done," he said. "But medicine, if you take [it] and your life and health is improved or saved, and then you learn the process of making - what kind of chemistry has been used - I'm sure people will appreciate [it]."

Negishi is the third Purdue University professor win a Nobel Prize.  His mentor, chemist Herbert C. Brown, was a co-recipient of the award in 1979.  Negishi and fellow Nobel recipient Akira Suzuki studied under Brown at Purdue.

Negishi is the author of two books and more than 400 scientific articles.  He says there is more research to perform in the ever-advancing field that led to his Nobel Prize.

"I can predict that many more innovative and modern advanced synthetic metals will arise," he said.

The Nobel Committee will present the $1.5-million award to Negishi and his fellow co-recipients in December in Sweden.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs