STOCKHOLM — Two scientists won the Nobel Prize for chemistry Wednesday for finding an "ingenious" and environmentally cleaner way to build molecules that can be used to make everything from medicines to food flavorings. The work of Benjamin List of Germany and Scottish-born David W.C. MacMillan has allowed scientists to produce those molecules more cheaply, efficiently and safely — and with significantly less environmental impact. "It's already benefiting humankind greatly," said Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, a member of the Nobel panel. She called it a "truly elegant tool." It was the second day in a row that a Nobel Prize went to work with environmental implications . The physics prize Tuesday honored developments that expanded our understanding of climate change, just weeks before the start of global climate talks in Scotland. Advertisement The chemistry prize focused on the business of making molecules. That requires linking individual atoms together in a specific arrangement — a difficult and slow task. Until the beginning of the millennium, chemists had only two methods, or catalysts, to speed up the process, using either complicated enzymes or metal catalysts. That all changed in 2000 when List, who works at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, and MacMillan, who teaches… Read full this story
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