John F. Hartwig
Wolf Prize Laureate in Chemistry 2019
The Prize Committee for Chemistry has unanimously decided that the 2019 Wolf Prize be awarded to John F. Hartwig and Stephen L. Buchwald.
John F. Hartwig
The development of palladium-catalyzed carbon-carbon bond formation by Prof. Heck, Prof. Negishi and Prof. Suzuki, resulted in the 2010 Nobel Prize for this innovation. This achievement underscored the immense importance of making new chemical bonds, and at the same time it created an urgent need for going beyond carbon-carbon bonds. This is precisely the achievement of Prof. Buchwald and Prof. Hartwig who have independently harnessed cross coupling for the making of carbon-heteroatom bonds. These bonds and especially the carbon-nitrogen bonds are immensely important, because such bonds constitute a very basis of medicinal chemistry. Thus, the two laureates have pioneered the development of transition metal catalyzed procedures that are broadly applicable and allow carbon-heteroatom bonds of all sorts to be formed with previously unknown efficiency and precision.
In so doing, Profs. Buchwald and Hartwig have profoundly impacted the practice of organic synthesis in general and medicinal chemistry in particular. The transformative nature of their achievement has changed the way whereby ever-more-efficient drugs are discovered and eventually manufactured, for the extensive benefit of society today and in the future. This breakthrough is the fruit of truly basic research and fundamental mechanistic investigations into ligand design and the elementary steps that transition metal complexes are able to entertain. These methodologies proved to be truly potent and represent, as such, a lasting legacy for the art and science of catalysis, and the prime justification for awarding Buchwald and Hartwig with the Wolf Prize for 2019.