Programme > Chirality Medal

 CHIRALITY MEDAL WINNER 2019

 Professor Laurence (Larry) NAFIE

Distinguished Professor Emeritus in Chemistry, Syracuse University (USA)

World-wide recognized specialist of Vibrational Optical Activity

Larry Nafie

 Chirality Medal

Prof. Larry Nafie receives the honor for his seminal contributions to the development and application of vibrational optical activity (VOA). VOA comprises two powerful complementary chiroptical spectroscopies: infrared vibrational circular dichroism (VCD) and vibrational Raman optical activity (ROA), both of which provide complete three-dimensional solution structures, including absolute configuration, of chiral molecules.
In 1974, while a postdoctoral associate in the laboratory of Philip Stephens (1940-2012) at the University of Southern California, Larry Nafie confirmed and extended the first reported VCD spectrum published earlier that year from the laboratory of George Holzwarth at the University of Chicago. Using a superior VCD instrument design (based on the fabrication of the first ZnSe photoelastic modulator, now used in all VCD spectrometers), he published with Tim Keiderling and Philip Stephens, the first major paper on VCD. Thanks to his groundbreaking papers, Larry was appointed to the faculty of Syracuse University in 1975, the first to be hired in the USA specifically to pursue a career in VCD. Due to his doctoral research experience at the University of Oregon with Raman spectroscopy, he extended his program to include ROA, thereby establishing the first laboratory dedicated to research in both VCD and ROA. His ensuing research made vital contributions to the theory, instrumentation, measurement and application of both VCD and ROA spanning 35 years until his retirement from Syracuse University in 2010.
Especially important was the development in his laboratory in 1979 of a Fourier transform (FT) instrument for measuring VCD. Commercial FT-VCD instruments based on this design are now used in both academic and pharmaceutical research laboratories around the world. The advent of a practical VCD instrument has made a huge impact on many areas of chemistry, biochemistry and medicinal chemistry. Additionally he was the first to measure ROA using the circular polarization content of Raman spectra which he named scattered circular polarization (SCP) ROA, now the basis of all commercial ROA instruments. Further, he has made fundamental contributions to the foundations of the theory of VOA including the vibronic coupling theory of VCD, nuclear velocity dependence of VCD and vibrational electron current density, resonance ROA, and VCD in molecules with low-lying electronic states. Among many other things, VOA has become one of the most important and reliable methods to determine the absolute configuration of single-enantiomer drug molecules. BioTools, Inc., which was co-founded by Prof. Nafie and Dr. Rina Dukor in 1996 for the commercialization of VOA, offered the first dedicated spectrometer for the measurement of VCD in 1997 and of ROA in 2003.
The living scientist who had the most to do with this step change in chiral analysis is undoubtedly Prof. Larry Nafie. We address our warmest congratulations to him!

The Chirality Medal was instituted by the Societa Chimica Italiana in 1991 to honor internationally recognized scientists who have made a distinguished contribution to all aspects of chirality. It is awarded each year by a Chirality Medal Honor Committee comprising the Chirality International Committee members and the most recent recipients of the medal.

 Previous Chirality Medals have been awarded to the following scientists:

CONFERENCE YEAR

CHIRALITY MEDAL WINNER

1991

E. Gil-Av (Israel) and J. Jacques (France)

1992

V. Prelog (Switzerland)

1993

K. Mislow (USA)

1994

W. Pirkle (USA)

1995

K. Nakanishi (USA)

1996

E. L. Eliel (USA)

1997

R. Noyori (Japan)

1998

H. Kagan (France)

1999

V. Davankov (Russia)

2000

K. B. Sharpless (USA)

2001

Y. Okamoto (Japan)

2002

D. Seebach (Switzerland)

2003

D. W. Armstrong (USA)

2004

V. Schurig (Germany)

2005

K. Soai (Japan)

2006

M. Lahav (Israel)

2007

N. Berova (USA)

2008

W. Lindner (Austria)

2009

B. L. Feringa (The Netherlands)

2010

K. Mori (Japan)

2011

L. Barron (UK)

2012

E. Jacobsen (USA)

2013

E. Yashima (Japan)

2014

M.T. Reetz (Germany)

2015

C. Welch (USA)

2016

A. Pfaltz (Switzerland)

2017

T. Aida (Japan)

2018

E. W. Meijer (The Netherlands)

 

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