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Karl Barry Sharpless
Born 28 April 1941 (1941-04-28) (age 68)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Nationality United States
Fields Chemistry
Institutions Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Scripps Research Institute
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Stanford University
Harvard University
Known for stereoselective reactions, click chemistry
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2001)

Karl Barry Sharpless (born 28 April 1941) is an American chemist known for his work on stereoselective reactions.




Early years

Sharpless was born in Philadelphia. He graduated from Friends' Central School in 1959. He continued his studies at Dartmouth College (1963) and earned his Ph.D from Stanford University in 1968. He continued post-doctoral work at Stanford University and Harvard University. He holds honorary degree of Technical University of Munich.


Sharpless has been a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University. He currently holds the W. M. Keck professorship in chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute.

In 2001 he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on stereoselective oxidation reactions (Sharpless epoxidation, Sharpless asymmetric dihydroxylation, Sharpless oxyamination). This prize was shared with William S. Knowles and Ryoji Noyori (for their work on stereoselective hydrogenation). He also successfully epoxidized (using racemic tartaric acid) a C-86 Buckminster Fullerene ball, employing p-Cresol as solvent. Currently he spends much of his time promoting click chemistry, a set of highly selective, exothermic reactions which occur under mild conditions; the most successful variant of which is the azide alkyne Huisgen cycloaddition to form 1,2,3-triazoles.

Personal life

Sharpless married Jan Dueser on 28 April 1965. They have three children; Hannah (b. 1976), William (b. 1978), and Isaac (b. 1980)

External links



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