William S. Knowles life and biography

William S. Knowles picture, image, poster

William S. Knowles biography

Date of birth : 1917-06-01
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Taunton, Massachusetts, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2011-09-16
Credited as : chemist, chirally catalysed hydrogenation reactions, Nobel Prize for Chemistry

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American chemist William S. Knowles won the Nobel Prize in 2000, for his research into chirally catalysed hydrogenation reactions. His work allowed the development of catalysts for chemical reactions designed to trigger formation of high concentrations of a particular form of a molecule, while producing only small quantities of the molecule's mirror image. This led to the design of chiral catalysts for hydrogenation reactions, culminating in a process for mass production of L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA), a drug used in the treatment of Parkinson disease.

Knowles attended boarding school in Berkshire, Massachusetts. He led his class academically.[2] Upon graduating high school, he was admitted to Harvard University after passing the College Board exams. Feeling that he was too young to go to college, Knowles spent a year at a prep school in Andover, Massachusetts. At the end of the year, he captured his first award in chemistry, the school's $50 Boylston prize.

After his year in prep school, Knowles attended Harvard, where he majored in chemistry, focusing on organic chemistry. He received his undergraduate degree in 1939, and attended Columbia University for graduate school.


ACS Award for Creative Invention 1982
ORCS Paul N. Rylander Award 1996
Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2001 (with Ryoji Noyori and K. Barry Sharpless)
Monsanto Distinguished Science Fellow (1970-86)
Monsanto Senior Scientist (1966-70)
Monsanto Group Leader (1952-66)
Monsanto Research Chemist (1944-52)
Monsanto Research Chemist, Thomas and Hochwalt (1942-44)
Draft Deferment World War II

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