Barry Sharpless

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Barry Sharpless, 2018

Karl Barry Sharpless (born April 28, 1941 in Philadelphia ) is an American chemist and Nobel Prize winner .


Sharpless attended a Quaker school, studied at Dartmouth College with a bachelor's degree in 1963 and received his doctorate in 1968 with Eugene van Tamelen at Stanford University . As a post-doctoral student he was at Stanford and from 1969 at Harvard University . In 1970 he became an assistant professor and later professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology , where he stayed until 1990, interrupted from 1977 to 1980 as a professor at Stanford. In 1990 he became a professor at the Scripps Research Institute , where he is WM Keck Professor .

In 1970 he went blind in one eye after a laboratory accident. He has been married to Jan Dueser since 1965 and has three children.


In 2001 he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on stereoselective oxidation reactions ( Sharpless epoxidation , Sharpless dihydroxylation , Sharpless amino hydroxylation). He shared the award with William S. Knowles and Ryoji Noyori (for their work on stereoselective hydrogenation ).

He deals with transition metal -catalyzed asymmetric reactions and catalyzed oxidation reactions ( osmium , ruthenium , rhodium ). He is currently mainly working in the new field of click chemistry , which is selective exothermic reactions that take place in water under mild conditions. An example is the alkyne - azide (3 + 2) cycloaddition with the formation of 1,2,3- triazoles . Together with Hartmuth C. Kolb and MG Finn, he is considered to be the founder of click chemistry (2001).

Honors and memberships

In addition to the 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry:

He is an honorary doctor of the Technical University of Munich (1995), the Royal Technical University in Stockholm (1995), the Catholic University of Leuven (1996) and Wesleyan University (1999). In 1984 he became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences the following year . He is an honorary member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science .

Since 2013 Thomson Reuters has counted him among the favorites for a (renewed) Nobel Prize ( Thomson Reuters Citation Laureates ) due to the number of his citations in the field of click chemistry .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Career data American Men and Women of Science , Thomson Gale 2004
  2. 2013 Predictions at Thomson Reuters (; Retrieved September 25, 2013.


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