Ryoji Noyori Prize for the award year 2008 is Prof. Andreas Pfalts

The 2008 Ryoji Noyori Prize, an international award sponsored by the Takasago International Corporation to encourage development of asymmetric synthesis technologies that contribute to a sustainable society, has been presented to Professor Andreas Pfaltz of the University of Basel, Switzerland.

Prof. Pfaltz was chosen as the recipient of the seventh Ryoji Noyori Prize by the International Prize Committee, chaired by Dr. Toru Fukuyama, . The ceremony took place at the Annual General Meeting of the Society of Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Japan (SSOCJ) in Tokyo on February 29, 2009. A certificate, plaque, and US$10,000 cash award were presented to Prof. Pfaltz by Ryozo Sakoda, chief executive officer of the SSOCJ.

Professor Pfaltz is well known for his seminal contributions to asymmetric catalysis. The semicorrins developed in his group served as the prototype for an important new family of nitrogen ligands, the bisoxazolines, which have found widespread use in catalytic asymmetric synthesis. His work on phosphinooxazolines, known as PHOX ligands, has led to numerous efficient chiral transition metal catalysts. Most noteworthy are Iridium-PHOX and related complexes, which are the first catalysts that allow highly enantioselective hydrogenation of unfunctionalized, alkyl-substituted olefins and, therefore, greatly enhance the scope of asymmetric hydrogenation.

At the award ceremony, Dr. Ryoji Noyori, , commented on his long acquaintance with Prof. Pfaltz: "I remember it was March 1983 when I first met Andreas. I was already immersed in the field of asymmetric synthesis, and young Andreas was introduced to me as a newcomer to this exciting field by Prof. Albert Eschenmoser, under whom Andreas studied at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The following year at a seminar, I heard his lecture, which was very clear and impressive. I believe Prof. Pfaltz is very Swiss in character -- serious, reasonable, and diligent -- and he works like a dependable Swiss watch. At the same time, he is polite, generous, sociable, and good-natured. Over 20 years, Andreas Pfaltz and I have been on the same road together, and he should be able to continue his research with energy for many years. The Noyori Prize has been awarded to the most distinguished chemists in the field. Adding the name of Andreas Pfaltz to the list of winners will further enhance the reputation and significance of this award."

Photo: Dr. Ryoji Noyori (left) and Prof. Andreas Pfaltz (right) at the award ceremony on Feb. 20, 2009.

International Ryoji Noyori Prize
Sponsored by the Takasago International Corporation, the Ryoji Noyori Prize is an international award established in 2002 by the Society of Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Japan (SSOCJ) to honor Dr. Ryoji Noyori, Ph.D., winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and to mark the 60th anniversary of the SSOCJ. The International Prize Committee presents this annual award to an eminent researcher who has made an outstanding contribution to asymmetric synthetic chemistry. To observe this occasion, the recipient delivers a commemorative lecture at the SSOCJ Annual General Meeting when the prize is presented.