John Hartwig awarded 2018 Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry

September 27, 2018

image: John Hartwig and Stephen BuchwaldJohn Hartwig and Stephen Buchwald

Elsevier and the Board of Executive Editors of Elsevier’s Tetrahedron journal series have announced that the 2018 Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry has been awarded to Professors Stephen L. Buchwald, Camille Dreyfus Professor of Chemistry and Associate Head, Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and John Hartwig, the Henry Rapoport Chair in Organic Chemistry at U.C. Berkeley.  The awardees are credited with developing the Buchwald–Hartwig amination, a chemical reaction used for the synthesis of carbon-nitrogen bonds via the Palladium-catalyzed coupling reactions of amines with aryl halides, a process which has gained wide use in the industrial preparation of numerous pharmaceuticals.

Professor Hartwig, is the youngest person to receive the prize since Stuart Schreiber, and the only faculty member from UC Berkeley to have won. Hartwig commented, “It is an incredible honor to receive a prize previously awarded to such pillars of organic chemistry who have been role models and inspirations for our own work. It is a particular pleasure to receive this award with Steve Buchwald as a recognition of our combined work on new coupling reactions and as a recognition of how catalytic reactions, in general, have influenced organic synthesis over the past two decades.”

About the Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity

The Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry was established in 1980 by the Executive Board of Editors and the Publisher of Tetrahedron Publications. It is intended to honour the memory of the founding co-Chairmen of these publications, Professor Sir Robert Robinson and Professor Robert Burns Woodward.

The Tetrahedron Prize is awarded on an annual basis for creativity in Organic Chemistry or Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry. The prize consists of a gold medal, a certificate, and a monetary award of US $15,000. It is awarded to an Organic or Medicinal Chemist who has made significant original contributions to the field, in its broadest sense. The 2018 prize is awarded to an Organic Chemist.

About Professor Hartwig's research

Professor Hartwig's research focuses on the discovery and understanding of new reactions catalyzed by transition metal complexes. He has developed a selective catalytic functionalization of alkanes, a method for formation of arylamines and aryl ethers from aryl halides or sulfonates, a method for the direct conversion of carbonyl compounds to alpha-aryl carbonyl derivatives, a system for the catalytic addition of amines to vinylarenes and dienes, and highly selective catalysts for the regio and enantioselective amination of allylic carbonates. With each system, his group has conducted extensive mechanistic investigations. He has revealed several new classes of reductive eliminations, has isolated discrete compounds that functionalize alkanes, and has reported unusual three-coordinate arylpalladium complexes that are intermediates in cross coupling. 

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