2012 Honorary Degree

Ei-ichi Negishi

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Dr. Ei-ichi Negishi

Doctor of Science

Dr. Ei-ichi Negishi is the H. C. Brown Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Purdue University and the 2010 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He is a pioneer in developing metal-based reactions called palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling, that allow for easy and efficient synthesis of complex organic compounds.

Dr. Negishi grew up in Japan and received his bachelor's degree from the University of Tokyo in 1958. After he obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1963, he joined Professor H. C. Brown's laboratories at Purdue as a Postdoctoral Associate in 1966 and was appointed assistant to Professor Brown in 1968.

Dr. Negishi joined the faculty of Syracuse University as assistant professor in 1972 and was promoted to associate professor in 1976. He returned to Purdue University as full professor in 1979. This is the same year that his mentor, the late Herbert C. Brown, won the Nobel Prize in chemistry. Fittingly, in 1999 he was appointed the inaugural H. C. Brown Distinguished Professor of Chemistry.

Dr. Negishi has pursued a lifelong investigation of transition metal-catalyzed organometallic reactions for organic synthesis. By creating a more precise method for coupling two different (or same) carbon groups, Dr. Negishi created a powerful tool for synthesizing a wide range of useful chemicals used in medicine, agriculture, and electronics.

In October 2010, Dr. Negishi was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for creating a method to build complex organic molecules necessary for numerous purposes, from pharmaceutical manufacturing to electronics. The prize was bestowed primarily on the strength of 10 seminal papers he published from 1976 to 1978.
He shares the 2010 Nobel Prize with Richard Heck of the University of Delaware and Akira Suzuki from Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan.

Their methods are now widely used in industry and research in a variety of applications including: pharmaceutical antibiotics that work on drug resistant bacteria, agricultural chemicals that protect crops from fungi, and electronic light-emitting diodes used in the production of extremely thin monitors.

In addition to the Nobel, Dr. Negishi has received numerous awards. These include the 1996 Chemical Society of Japan Award, the 1998 ACS Award in Organometallic Chemistry, the 1998–2001 Alexander von Humboldt Senior Researcher Award, the 2000 Sir Edward Frankland Prize, Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK, the 2007 Yamada-Koga Prize in Japan, the 2010 ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, the 2010 Japanese Order of Culture, and in 2011 he became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In 2011, Purdue announced the establishment of the Negishi-Brown Institute. The institute will support basic research in catalytic organometallic chemistry through graduate and postdoctoral fellowships, regular workshops and symposia, and establishing new relationships with industrial partners. Dr. Negishi is the center's inaugural director.

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