This master class with Nobel laureate David MacMillan will be held at Princeton University, where he teaches. We’ll begin with a discussion of the advent and development of asymmetric organocatalysis in MacMillan’s laboratory, which teachers will then have the opportunity to visit. In the course of the day, we’ll also explore concepts of chemical reactivity, catalysis, and the asymmetry of organic molecules; the impact of organocatalysis on modern synthetic chemistry; and the real-world applications of this technology. Finally, we will look to the future and consider how organocatalysis may continue to influence scientific research and society. Along the way, MacMillan will describe the life-changing consequences of becoming a Nobel laureate, and the ways in which the Nobel Prize shapes our perspective of science and society.
David W. C. MacMillan was born in Bellshill, Scotland, and received his undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Glasgow. He began his doctoral studies under the direction of Professor Larry Overman at the University of California, Irvine, before undertaking a postdoctoral position with Professor Dave Evans at Harvard University. He began his independent career at University of California, Berkeley, before moving to Caltech as the Earle C. Anthony Chair of Organic Chemistry. In 2006, Dave moved to Princeton University as the A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Chemistry. He served as department chair from 2010–2015 and is currently the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry. Dave shares the 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Benjamin List “for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis.” His research interests encompass a wide range of organic chemistry, including the development of new areas in organocatalysis and photoredox catalysis.