Vol. 22, No. 4
Fürstner Wins Thieme-IUPAC Prize in Synthetic Organic Chemistry
Prof. Dr. Alois Fürstner
Prof. Dr. Alois Fürstner, Director of the Max-Planck-Institut
für Kohlenforschung, Mülheim, Germany, has won the 5th
Thieme-IUPAC Prize in Synthetic Organic Chemistry (2000). The Prize
will be presented to him at an Award Lecture on 3 July 2000 at the 13th
International Conference on Organic Synthesis (ICOS-13) in Warsaw,
The Thieme-IUPAC Prize, consisting of DM 10 000, is awarded
every two years on the occasion of IUPAC's International Conference
on Organic Synthesis (ICOS) to a scientist under 40 years of age, whose
research has had a major impact on the field of synthetic organic chemistry.
The Prize is sponsored jointly by Georg Thieme Verlag, IUPAC, and the
Editors of Synthesis, Synlett, Science of Synthesis, and Houben-Weyl
Prof. Dr. Fürstner was born on 23 July 1962 in Austria.
He completed his Ph.D. in carbohydrate chemistry under the direction
of H. Weidmann at the Technical University Graz, Austria, in 1987. After
working as a postdoctoral fellow with W. Oppolzer on metalloene reactions
at the University of Geneva, Switzerland (1990-1991), he returned to
Graz to obtain his Habilitation on metal activation. In 1993, he joined
the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Mülheim, Germany, as head
of a research group. Since 1998, he has held the position of Director
at the Institute and is an affiliated professor with the University
Prof. Dr. Fürstner's work displays a fruitful interplay
of basic research in organometallic chemistry and catalysis, and applications
to natural product chemistry and the total synthesis of biologically
relevant compounds. Prof. Dr. Fürstner was one of the first chemists
to recognize the enormous potential of metathesis for the synthesis
of macrocycles. With considerable insight into this reaction, he has
spelled out rules on how to implement metathesis-based macrocycle formations
in multistep syntheses, and has demonstrated the validity of his concepts
by elegant applications to natural product total synthesis. Fürstner's
syntheses of the macrolide (-)-gloeosporone, the terpene dactylol, the
tripyrrole pigment nonylprodigiosin, and the complex glycolipids tricolorin
A and G are highlights in this field.
Prof. Dr. Fürstner's conceptually new approaches
to the synthesis of olfactory macrocycles (e.g., exaltolide) indicate
the enormous potential of olefin metathe- sis for fine chemical produc-tion.
Additionally, he has opened up promising new perspectives for preparative
chemistry by introducing the first examples of ring-closing alkyne metathesis,
as well as a mechanistically unprecedented enyne metathesis simply catalyzed
by platinum(II) chloride. The latter transformation has already been
employed in an efficient total synthesis of immunosuppresive alkaloids
of the prodigiosin series.
Another major area of Fürstner's work concerns metal-induced
C-C bond formations. He has developed a versatile reductive indole synthesis
and has pioneered a new branch of catalysis research by discovering
McMurry-type reactions catalytic in titanium as well as Nozaki-Hiyama-Kishi
reactions catalytic in chromium.
Prof. Dr. Fürstner has achieved worldwide recognition
for his highly innovative and creative independent research. He has
received several awards, including the prestigious Leibniz Award (1999)
from the German Science Foundation.
about the Thieme-IUPAC Prize