Eric Jacobsen

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For the record producer, see Erik Jacobsen. For the puppeteer, see Eric Jacobson.

Eric N. Jacobsen (born February 22, 1960, New York, NY) is the Sheldon Emery Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. He is a prominent figure in the field of organic chemistry and is best known for the development of the Jacobsen epoxidation.

Jacobsen attended New York University for his undergraduate studies and the University of California at Berkeley for graduate school, earning his Ph.D. in 1986 under the tutelage of Robert G. Bergman. He subsequently joined the laboratory of Barry Sharpless, then of MIT, as an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow. He was a faculty member at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before relocating to Harvard in 1993.

His work includes investigations on selective catalysis, including the design, discovery, and study of systems that mediate fundamentally interesting and useful organic reactions. His laboratory has applied physical-organic chemistry principles to understand the transition structure geometries and molecular recognition events that control reaction selectivity. Asymmetric catalysis, selective carbon-carbon bond formation and cleavage, enzyme mimetics, and new approaches to catalyst design are all areas of his interest. He has developed enantioselective small-molecule catalysts whose usefulness is demonstrated by aiding the synthesis of biologically important active compounds.[1]

Notable contributions[edit]

Jacobsen has developed catalysts for asymmetric epoxidation, hydrolytic kinetic resolution and desymmetrization of epoxides, asymmetric pericyclic reactions, and asymmetric additions to imines.


  • Bristol-DTC-Syngenta Award (2013)
  • Remsen Award (2013)
  • Fannie–Cox Teaching Award, Harvard University (2012)
  • Chirality Medal (2012)
  • Nagoya Gold Medal Prize (2011)
  • GSK Scholar Award (2011)
  • Kosolapoff Award, Auburn Section ACS (2011)
  • Noyori Prize (2011)
  • Janssen Pharmaceutica Prize for Creativity in Organic Synthesis(2010)
  • Yamada–Koga Prize
  • election to the National Academy of Sciences (2008)
  • ACS H.C. Brown Award for Synthetic Methods (2008)
  • Alan R. Day Award (2007)
  • Mitsui Catalysis Award (2005)
  • election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2004)
  • AIC Chemical Pioneer Award (2004)
  • Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize (2003)
  • NIH Merit Award (2002)
  • ACS Award for Creativity in Synthetic Organic Chemistry (2001)
  • Baekeland Medal (1999)
  • Piero–Pino Prize (1999)
  • Van't Hoff Prize (1998)
  • Thieme-IUPAC Prize in Synthetic Organic Chemistry (1996)
  • Fluka "Reagent of the Year" Prize (1994)
  • ACS Cope Scholar Award (1993)
  • Zeneca Chemistry Award (1993)
  • Pfizer Young Faculty Award for Synthetic Organic Chemistry (1993)
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship (1992)
  • Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (1992)
  • Packard Fellowship (1991)
  • NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award (1990)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Harvard University Department of Chemistry and Biological Chemistry Website, Eric N. Jacobsen, last accessed September 14, 2014 (website includes photograph of Eric N. Jacobsen) [1]