Ryoji Noyori was born in Kobe, Japan, in 1938. He obtained his first degree in Chemistry, as well as master’s and doctorate degrees in Industrial Chemistry from the College of Engineering at Kyoto University in Japan. He carried out post-doctoral training at Harvard University in the USA. Noyori’s academic career spans more than 40 years. He served as Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Research Center for Material Sciences at Nagoya University since 1972, and adjunct Profoessor ay Kushu Univeristy between 1993-1995. He is still a Professor at Nagoya University while serving as President of RIKEN, a well-endowed multi-site national research initiative. He is also President-Elect of the Japanese Chemical Society, Member of the Advisory Council of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Scientific Advisor of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, former President of the Society of Synthetic Organic Chemistry and former Director of the ERATO Molecular Catalysis Project of the Research Development Corporation of Japan.
In addition to the King Faisal International Prize for Science and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry two years later (with Barry Sharpeless and W. Knowles), Professor Noyori received 25 other prizes and medals worldwide, including the Chemical Society of Japan Award, the Japan Academy Prize, the Wolf Prize in Chemistry (2001), and the Roger Adams Award. In 2000, he was also awarded the highest honor in Japan, the Order of Culture, by the Japanese Emperor. He holds eleven Honorary Doctorate degrees from the Technical University of Munich (Technische Universität München) and the Université de Rennes in France. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), Honorary Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Pontificial Academy of Sciences the Japan Academy and the Chemical Society of Japan, Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the US National Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Korean National Academy of Sciences, the Polish Academy of Sciences, Academia Sinica (Taiwan) and Honorary Professor at Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry in China. A commomerative prize, the Ryoji Noyori Prize, was incepted in his honor in 2002 by the Japanese Society of Synthetic Chemistry to “recognize outstanding contributions to research in asymmetric synthetic chemistry.”
Professor Ryoji Noyori has been awarded the prize for his exceptional contributions in developing new methods for the preparation of chiral molecules and for the achievement of selective and efficient chemical synthesis. The pioneering work of Professor Noyori on asymmetric catalysis has profoundly altered many aspects of chemistry. Professor Seebach‘s seminal contributions have led to new concepts in selective organic synthesis and in relating molecular structures to functions. Their outstanding contributions, which enable the manufacturing of new compounds, have enormous benefits for mankind, from agriculture to medicine.