Emanuel Merck Lectureship 2022 Awarded to John F. Hartwig

The Emanuel Merck Lectureship was established in 1992 and recognizes globally renowned scientists who have made superb contributions to chemical and pharmaceutical research.

23 May 2022 | Darmstadt, Germany
  • Outstanding scientific work in the field of metallo-organic chemistry honored
  • Co-discoverer of the Buchwald-Hartwig amination
  • 17th joint award presented by TU Darmstadt and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, today named John F. Hartwig, Henry Rapoport Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, as the seventeenth recipient of the Emanuel Merck Lectureship.

“I am honored by the recognition being given to me today for the discoveries made by my research group,” said Hartwig on receiving the news about this distinction. “Through our research, I wanted to show how transition-metal chemistry could change the way organic molecules are made and to influence the foundations of synthetic chemistry down to the level of undergraduate chemistry. My dream, which is beginning to be realized, has been to use fundamental principles to discover organic reactions catalyzed by these metals that are used to create life-saving medicines.”

Hartwig is being recognized for his outstanding work in transition metal catalysis. His achievements in transition metal chemistry have brought the design of molecules and syntheses to a new level – not only in an academic context where almost every total synthesis involves a catalytic transformation, but also for the industrial production of numerous pharmaceuticals. He has published more than 450 articles in scientific journals, holds 21 patents and has contributed numerous chapters to textbooks. To make the foundations and applications of catalysis accessible to a broader audience, he wrote the textbook “Organotransition Metal Chemistry – From Bonding to Catalysis”. Moreover, Hartwig is the founder of his own start-up Catylix Inc. Hartwig is co-discoverer of the Buchwald-Hartwig amination – a widely used palladium-catalyzed coupling reaction for the formation of C-N bonds from amines and aryl halides.

“Today we are recognizing the achievements of a superb scientist who has made breakthrough contributions to the further development of synthetic chemistry,” said Ulrich Betz, Vice President Innovation at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. “This award helps to promote scientific exchange with internationally renowned researchers and to recognize them for their important work for science and society. As such, the award is ideally suited to both us as a science and technology company as well as to the research profile of the renowned Technical University of Darmstadt.”

The prize, worth € 30,000, will be presented to Hartwig today, on May 23, 2022, during a public lecture at the Hörsaal- und Medienzentrum at the Lichtwiese campus of TU Darmstadt. The prizewinner will hold a presentation there on “Catalyzing Organic Synthesis” at 5 p.m.

The Emanuel Merck Lectureship was jointly established by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and TU Darmstadt in 1992. It recognizes globally renowned scientists who have made superb contributions to chemical and pharmaceutical research. From 1993 to the present day, the award has been granted to 17 eminent scientists from all over the world.

Apart from the Emanuel Merck Lectureship, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, honors science and supports the work of scientists with many other awards and grants. The Future Insight Prize, which was announced in July 2018, was also created by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. It will be granted for the fourth time at the Curious2022 – Future Insight Conference in July 2022. This year’s prize of € 1 million will be granted to researchers working to fight climate change.

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