Synthesizing our future

Nobel laureate Prof. Ryoji Noyori

It goes without saying that man-made substances and materials created through synthetic chemistry have had a tremendous impact on our lives. Though chemical synthesis has now reached an extraordinary level of sophistication, where do chemists go from here? Is there room for improvement? What challenges lay ahead? On June 11, The McGill Chemical Society is proud to present its 2009 J.T. Donald Public Lecture with 2001 Nobel laureate in Chemistry Ryoji Noyori. In his lecture, Chemistry: The Key to Our Future, Prof. Noyori will consider where synthetic chemists should focus their efforts both now and in the future.

Prof. Ryoji Noyori is an internationally renowned organic chemist based at Nagoya University in Japan. His research has focused on catalysis, which as he noted recently (Nature Chemistry 2009) is vital because it is the “only rational means to producing useful compounds in an economical, energy-saving and environmentally benign way.” He is also on record for reinforcing the central role that chemistry plays in our society, and notes that any efficient process must also be socially acceptable. In this regard he has become a passionate supporter for the relatively new field of “Green Chemistry” – the design and implementation of chemical processes and products which are environmentally benign.

Prof. Noyori shared the Nobel Prize in 2001 with Americans William Knowles and Barry Sharpless for their individual contributions to the field of catalytic asymmetric reactions.  These chemical reactions are of vast importance because they are at the heart of making a number of molecules that are vital to the pharmaceutical industry among others. He is currently the president of RIKEN, Japan’s network of elite natural science research institutes.

The McGill Chemical Society’s 2009 J.T. Donald Public Lecture with 2001 Nobel laureate in Chemistry Ryoji Noyori will take place on Jun. 11, 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. in the Otto Maass Chemistry Building, Room 112, 801 Sherbrooke St. W. There will be a short presentation by Yvan Guindon, President of the Royal Society of Canada, immediately before the lecture. A reception will follow. For more information, please visit: