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Sustainable “green” Chemistry

Introduction

Has a Nobel Prize ever been awarded for a discovery in the field of green chemistry?

Yes! Although green chemistry is a relatively young field, one Nobel Prize has already been awarded for work in this area. This prize was awarded in 2005 to three men (Robert Grubbs of the California Institute of Technology, Richard Schrock of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Yves Chauvin of the Institut Francais du Petrole) for their work in the development of olefin metathesis reactions. Olefin metathesis is a type of chemical reaction that involves two carbon-carbon double bonds reacting to form two new carbon-carbon double bonds, effectively exchanging the substituents attached to each carbon. This reaction takes place catalytically under mild reaction conditions, produces little hazardous waste, and has been shown to be effective in a broad range of situations, including the synthesis of new drugs.



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