Recognising the best organic chemistry

a trophyOn Monday I attended the RSC Organic Division Awards Symposium at the University of Cambridge. Organised by Chemical Science Associate Editor Matthew Gaunt, the symposium recognised three 2010 RSC award winners for their impressive contributions to organic chemistry

First up was Bader Award winner Professor Kevin Booker-Milburn (University of Bristol, UK) who stressed the ongoing importance of curiosity in organic synthesis. He discussed his research on organic photochemistry, in particular how his group had managed to scale up organic photochemistry reactions using continuous flow reactors.

Next Hickinbottom Award winner Dr Matthew Clarke (The University of St Andrews, UK) split his approaches to controlling enantioselectivity in asymmetric synthesis into the sensible (asymmetric hydroformylation); the silly (using supramolecular synthesis to make libraries of catalysts); the scientific (rational design of hydrogenation catalysts); and the serendipitous (palladium-catalysed hydroxycarbonylations).

Last, but by no means least, Professor Dieter Enders (RWTH-Aachen, Germany), winner of the Robert Robertson award, discussed his work on asymmetric organocatalysis and revealed he has been an RSC member since before I was born.

Many thanks to Martin Swarbrick from the Organic Division for presenting the prizes, Matthew Gaunt for the organisation and, of course, the three speakers for delivering excellent and enjoyable lectures.

Also of interest:
N-heterocyclic carbene catalysed asymmetric cross-benzoin reactions of heteroaromatic aldehydes with trifluoromethyl ketones
Dieter Enders, André Grossmann, Jeanne Fronert and Gerhard Raabe, Chem. Commun., 2010, 46, 6282-6284

On the rate-determining step and the ligand electronic effects in rhodium catalysed hydrogenation of enamines and the hydroaminomethylation of alkenes
José A. Fuentes, Piotr Wawrzyniak, Geoffrey J. Roff, Michael Bühl and Matthew L. Clarke, Catal. Sci. Technol., 2011, DOI: 10.1039/C1CY00026H

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