Hisashi Yamamoto, a professor in the chemistry department at the University of Chicago, has been named the 2011 winner of the Ryoji Noyori Prize, which is sponsored by Takasago and was established by The Society of Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Japan (SSOCJ) in commemoration of Ryoji Noyori's winning of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, as well as the SSOCJ’s 60th anniversary.
The prize recognizes and encourages outstanding contributions to research in asymmetric synthetic chemistry, and Yamamoto was awarded for his pioneering use of binaphthol as a key ligand for chiral Lewis acid catalysts, which was the forerunner of a C-2 symmetry based chiral acid catalyst. His combined Brønsted and Lewis acid catalysts are the most efficient among the asymmetric acid catalyst and his super Brønsed acid catalysts play an important role in the step-economical synthesis of complex molecules. He also introduced V, Zr, Hf, and Fe catalysts for asymmetric oxidation.
In winning the prize, Yamamoto will receive a certificate, medallion and $10,000. Additionally, he will also deliver a lecture at the annual SSOCJ meeting, where he will also receive the Ryoji Noyori Prize.