Organic chemist Robert Grubbs won the 2005 Nobel Prize in chemistry this morning, sharing the prize with another American and a French researcher. Says Caltech:
Grubbs and this year's other two winners were cited specifically "for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis." Metathesis is an organic reaction in which chemists selectively strip out certain atoms in a compound and replace them with atoms that were previously part of another compound. The end result is a custom-built molecule that has specialized properties, such as better drugs for the treatment of disease, or better electrical conducting properties for specialized plastics.
That's Nobel number thirty-two for Caltech.