Wolf Prize Laureate in Chemistry 1986
Affiliation at the time of the award:
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Switzerland
“for outstanding research on the synthesis, stereochemistry, and reaction mechanisms for formation of natural products, especially Vitamin-B12”.
Albert Eschenmoser has shown a remarkably keen insight-into-the-stereochemistry and mechanisms of the reactions used in his synthetic studies. His most spectacular successes have been in the Vitamin-B12 field. He achieved a total synthesis of this compound that was completed in collaboration with Professor R.B. Woodward and at the same time also developed another novel approach leading to a second synthesis of Vitamin-B12. Later his interest in this system has led him to formulate new ideas concerning the mode of formation of Vitamin-B12 and other tetrapyrrolic pigments, the “key molecules of life”, in pre-biotic times. His beautiful series of model experiments, elegantly designed, very well thought-out, and brilliantly executed, led to a substantiation of these ideas.