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Department of Chemistry Paul Karrer Lecture

Stephen L. Buchwald

Paul Karrer Lecture 2022

The Laureate

Professor Stephen L. Buchwald was born in Bloomington, Indiana in 1955. He received his Sc.B. degree from Brown University in 1977 and his PhD from Harward University in 1982.

His thesis, supervised by Professor Jeremy R. Knowles, focused on the mechanism of phosphoryl transfer reactions in chemistry and biochemistry. After he received his PhD, he was a Myron A. Bantrell postdoctoral fellow at Caltech with Professor Robert H. Grubbs and studied titanocene methylenes as reagents in organic synthesis and the mechanism of Ziegler-Natta polymerization. In 1984, he started this career as an assistant professor of chemistry at MIT. He was promoted to associate professor in 1989, to full professor in 1993 and was named the Camille Dreyfus Professor in 1997. In July 2015, he became Associate Head of the Chemistry Department at MIT.

Since 1984, Professor Stephen L. Buchwald has received numerous honours including the Harold Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award of MIT, an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, the 2000 Award in Organometallic Chemistry from the American Chemical Society (ACS) and a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health. He was also the recipient of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Distinguished Achievement Award and the CAS Science Spotlight Award (both 2005) as well as the ACS‘s Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry and the Siegfried Medal Award in Chemical Methods which Impact Process Chemistry, both received in 2006. In 2010, he received the Gustavus J. Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Public Interest and in 2013 the Arthur C. Cope Award from the ACS. In 2014, he was the recipient of the Linus Pauling Medal Award and the Ulysses Medal (University College Dublin). In 2015, he received a honorary doctoral degree from the University of South Florida and also received the BBVA Frontiers in Knowledge Award in Basic Sciences. He was the recipient of the William H. Nichols Medal (2016) and the Roger Adams Award in organic chemistry (2018). In 2000, he was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2008 as a member of the National Academy of Science. He is the co-author of over 490 published or accepted papers and 47 issued patents. He serves as a consultant to a number of companies and is an associate editor of Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis.

The Stiftung für die Paul Karrer-Vorlesung is very proud to honour the scientific achievements of Professor Stephen L. Buchwald with the 40th Paul Karrer Gold Medal. The award ceremony and lecture will be followed by an apéro right in front of the Aula.

See also his website.

The Lecture

Palladium-Catalyzed Carbon-Heteroatom Bond-Forming Reactions for the Functionalization of Molecules Big and Small

Cross-coupling methodology is an indispensable part of the everyday repertoire of synthetic organic chemists. Among the many possibilities, we have focused a great deal of attention on the Pd-catalyzed formation of C-N bonds1,2; a mechanistic scheme for this transformation is shown below. This methodology has been widely utilized throughout academia and industry.

This lecture will include: 1) An introduction to palladium-catalyzed carbon-heteroatom bond-forming reactions including an historical overview. 2) A description of ligand and precatalyst development employing biarylphosphines. 3) Applications of these catalysts to the preparation of compounds of interest to medicinal chemists. 4) Examples of the use of Pd complexes for the selective functionalization of large molecules.3

Graphical Abstract

Ruiz-Castillo, P. and Buchwald, S.L.  Chem. Rev. 2016, 116, 12564-12649.
Ingoglia, B.T.: Wagen, C.C. and Buchwald, S.L.  Tet., 2019, 75, 4199–4211.
Vinogradova, E.V., Zhang, C.; Spokoyny, A.M.; Pentelute, Bradley L.  and Buchwald, S.L. Nature, 2015, 526, 687-691.