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Arthur C. Cope Award: Steven V. Ley

January 15, 2018 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 96, Issue 3

Sponsor: Arthur C. Cope Fund

Citation: For his exceptional and creative contributions to the art of organic synthesis.

Current position: director of research and professor of organic chemistry, University of Cambridge

Education: B.Sc. and Ph.D., chemistry, Loughborough University

Ley on what he hopes to accomplish in the next decade: “I am a molecule maker; however, I have realized in recent years that there needs to be a very great improvement to the general and sustainable practice of organic synthesis. By relegating many of the labor-intensive routine reaction optimization tasks and the problems associated with reaction scale-up to machines, we can help maximize the precious human resource, thereby providing more time to invent and discover new processes.”

What his colleagues say: “What particularly stands out is Ley’s pioneering work and passion to discover new tools to achieve more sustainable and environmentally acceptable chemical practices. In particular, his recent innovative work on flow chemistry technologies has truly changed the world for the benefit of mankind. As Ley pointed out, in patented work in 1999, the conceptual leap forward was to employ these immobilized systems in a dynamic fashion using continuous-flow-processing methods to achieve chemical transformations. This is now a major area of activity worldwide, and Ley is widely regarded as its pioneer.”—Matthew Gaunt, University of Cambridge

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