The three winners of this year;s Nobel Prize for Chemistry all developed new ways to make carbon atoms stick to one another — a process that underlies the very basis of life.
The processes can be used to make new drugs — notably, cancer drugs — and electronics and other compounds.
Richard Heck, who retired from the University of Delaware and now lives in the Philippines, Ei-ichi Negishi at Purdue University in Indiana and Akira Suzuki of Hokkaido University in Japan all work in the field of organic chemistry.
"Carbon-carbon bonds are the lifeblood of organic synthesis," said Dr Jeremy Berg, director, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, US National Institutes of Health. "If you think about building a house, the carbon-carbon bonds are the framing."