Thursday, October 07, 2010

Hokkaido University wins its first Nobel Prize

Today marks a historic event for Hokkaido University as it receives its first Nobel Prize.

Prof. Emeritus Akira Suzuki is one of two Japanese Nobel laureates to win the prestigious award Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this year.

Together with Prof. Ei-ichi Negishi (Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA) and Prof. Richard F. Heck (University of Delaware, Newark,DE, USA) they won the award for "palladium-catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis".

Okay, what is it? Put it in layman's terms, the trio improved our lives by improving the reactions of molecules to create better products such as plastics. Well, it's not only that product to which they won, I'm sure. The Suzuki reaction, Negishi reaction, and Heck reaction are all useful tools, which may be above our heads to understand but suffice for non-chemists to know, that they deserve to win the coveted prize.

Who is Prof. Akira Suzuki? Here is a short bio of the distinguished Nobel laureate.

Prof. Suzuki was born on 12 September 1930. He finished his BS degree in Chemistry and PhD in Hokkaido University in 1954 and 1959, respectively. After receiving his doctorate degree, he worked as assistant professor in Hokkaido University. He then went to the United States to pursue postdoctoral fellowship in Purdue University between 1963 and 1965.

The 80-year-old laureate was a professor in Hokkaido University (1973-1994), Okayama University of Science (1994-1995), and Kurashiki University of Science and Arts (1995-2002). He isalso an invited professor at the University of Wales, UK (1998), Purdue University, USA (2001), and National Taiwan University and Academia Sinica, Taiwan (2002-2003).

As of April 2008, Prof. Suzuki has 341 research articles in Chemistry published in various national and international journals.

Aside from the Nobel Prize, some of the awards and recognitions that Prof. Akira received were: Distinguished Professor Emeritus (Hokkaido University, 2006), The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon (Japanese Government, 2005), JapanAcademy Award (2004), Synthetic Organic Chemistry Japan Special Award (Society of Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Japan, 2004), Distinguished Lecturer Award (Queen's University, Canada and Pfizer Co., USA, 2001), Herbert C. Brown Lecturer Award (Purdue University, USA, 2000), Professor Emeritus (Hokkaido University, 1994), and much more.

That's a lot of achievement, indeed. It is without a doubt that Hokkaido University as well as its students and graduates, like me, are proud of Prof. Akira Suzuki.

Suzuki Sensei he, omedetou gozaimashita. Kampai!


This blog entry was originally posted here

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