The Nobel Prize for chemistry" target="_blank" title="n.化学">chemistry was awarded to a trio of scientists who came up with an elegant way to mesh together stubborncarbon atoms, an approach vital for the development of novel medicines, materials and electronics.


The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences honored Richard Heck of the U.S. and Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki of Japan for developing a sophisticated chemical tool known as palladium-catalyzed cross couplings.

瑞典皇家科学院(Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences)将荣誉授予美国的赫克(Richard Heck)、日本的根岸英一(Ei-ichi Negishi)和铃木章(Akira Suzuki),他们研究出了被称为"钯催化交叉偶联反应"的精密化学方法。

The approach, which the Swedish committee described as 'great art in a test tube,' lets chemists fashion carbon-based molecules as complex as those found in nature. The three laureates did their fundamentalresearchindependently of each other, four decades ago.


'One of our dreams was to synthesize any organiccompound of importance,' said Dr. Negishi, 75 years old, in a video interview with reporters in Stockholm. 'We believe our chemistry" target="_blank" title="n.化学">chemistry will be applicable to a wide range of compounds.'


At the heart of the trio's work are carbon-carbon bonds, the basis of life. This aspect of chemistry" target="_blank" title="n.化学">chemistry is important enough that it accounts for a total of five Nobel prizes so far. When making an organiccompound, chemists have to join carbon atoms together. Carbon is boringly stable, so scientists deploy chemical tricks to make the atoms more reactive, allowing them to bind.


The approach works fine when concocting simple molecules, but for complex molecules, it generates too many unwanted byproducts. That's where palladium comes in. The lustrous, silvery-white metal plays the vital role of catalyst. The three Nobel laureates showed that when the carbon atoms meet on a palladium atom, it can spark the chemicalreaction.


'Palladium is a sort of matchmaker. It helps the atoms join hands and form a carbon bond,' said Jeremy Berg, an inorganicchemist by training and director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

美国国家卫生研究院(U.S. National Institutes of Health)下属的美国国家综合医学研究所(National Institute of General Medical Sciences)所长、资深无机化学家伯格(Jeremy Berg)说,钯就像是一个媒人,它促使碳原子手牵手形成碳键。

The NIGMS has funded Dr. Negishi's research with $6.5 million since the 1970s. It also supports other scientists involved in similar experiments.


Today, Dr. Negishi is a chemistry" target="_blank" title="n.化学">chemistry professor at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Dr. Suzuki, 80, is a retired professor from Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan. Dr. Heck, 79, is a professor emeritus at the University of Delaware living in the Philippines.

现在,根岸英一博士是印第安纳州普度大学(Purdue University)的化学教授。80岁的铃木章曾是日本北海道大学(Hokkaido University)教授,现已退休。79岁的赫克是美国特拉华大学(University of Delaware)的荣誉教授,现居菲律宾。

The chemical tool kit devised by the three scientists -- known variously as the Heck reaction, the Negishi reaction and the Suzuki reaction -- is now routinely used in labs around the world, as well as by industry.


'It's one thing to do chemicalreactions in a lab, but when you scale it up, it gets expensive,' said Joseph Francisco, president of the American Chemical Society. 'The beauty of their work is that it's very clean chemistry" target="_blank" title="n.化学">chemistry, so you get lots of cost savings in terms of the energy used.'

美国化学学会(American Chemical Society)会长弗朗西斯科(Joseph Francisco)说,在实验室做化学反应是一回事,再上升一步就变得很昂贵了,他们的研究的美妙之处在于,这是非常纯粹的化学,因此你可以在使用能源方面节省大量成本。

Gautam Naik