Karl Barry Sharpless

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Karl Barry Sharpless
Born (1941-04-28) 28 April 1941 (age 72)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Nationality United States
Fields Chemistry
Institutions Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Scripps Research Institute
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Stanford University
Harvard University
Known for enantioselective synthesis, click chemistry
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2001)
Benjamin Franklin Medal (2001)
Harvey Prize (1998)
Scheele Award (1991)

Karl Barry Sharpless (born 28 April 1941) is an American chemist known for his work on stereoselective reactions.


Early years[edit]

Sharpless was born in Philadelphia. He graduated from Friends' Central School in 1959. He continued his studies at Dartmouth College (1963) and earned his Ph.D from Stanford University in 1968. He continued post-doctoral work at Stanford University and Harvard University. He holds honorary degree of Technical University of Munich. He was blinded in one eye during a lab accident in 1970, shortly after he arrived at MIT as an assistant professor.[1]


Sharpless has been a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University. He currently holds the W. M. Keck professorship in chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute.

In 2001 he won a half-share of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on stereoselective oxidation reactions (Sharpless epoxidation, Sharpless asymmetric dihydroxylation, Sharpless oxyamination). The other half of the year's Prize was shared between William S. Knowles and Ryōji Noyori (for their work on stereoselective hydrogenation). He also successfully epoxidized (using racemic tartaric acid) a C-86 Buckminster Fullerene ball, employing p-Cresol as solvent. More recently he has been an important figure in the new field of click chemistry.[2] This involves a set of highly selective, exothermic reactions which occur under mild conditions; the most successful example is the azide alkyne Huisgen cycloaddition to form 1,2,3-triazoles.

Personal life[edit]

Sharpless married Jan Dueser on 28 April 1965. They have three children; Hannah (b. 1976), William (b. 1978), and Isaac (b. 1980)


External links[edit]