David MacMillan, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021

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David William Cross MacMillan

Current Location:: Princeton, Mercer County, NJ, United States
Birthplace: Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, Scotland, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Private

Occupation: chemist
Managed by: Yigal Burstein
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

    • Private

About David MacMillan, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021

David William Cross MacMillan FRS FRSE (born March 16, 1968) is a American-British chemist and the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University, where he was also the Chair of the Department of Chemistry from 2010 to 2015. In 2021, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry together with Benjamin List.

Education and early life

MacMillan was born in Bellshill, Scotland in 1968. He received his undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Glasgow, where he worked with Ernie Colvin.

In 1990, he left the UK to begin his doctoral studies under the direction of Professor Larry Overman at the University of California, Irvine. During this time, he focused on the development of new reaction methodology directed toward the stereocontrolled formation of bicyclic tetrahydrofurans. MacMillan's graduate studies culminated in the total synthesis of 7-(−)-deacetoxyalcyonin acetate, a eunicellin diterpenoid isolated from soft coral Eunicella stricta. He earned his Ph.D. in 1996.

Career and research

Upon receiving his Ph.D., MacMillan accepted a position with Professor David Evans at Harvard University. His postdoctoral studies centered on enantioselective catalysis, in particular, the design and development of Sn(II)-derived bisoxazoline complexes (Sn(II)box).

MacMillan began his independent research career as a member of the chemistry faculty at the University of California, Berkeley in July 1998. He joined the department of chemistry at Caltech in June 2000, where his group's research interests centered on new approaches to enantioselective catalysis. In 2004, he was appointed as the Earle C. Anthony Professor of Chemistry. For personal reasons, he moved to Princeton University in September 2006.

MacMillan's research group has made many advances in the field of asymmetric organocatalysis, and they have applied these new methods to the synthesis of a range of complex natural products.

Between 2010 and 2014, Professor MacMillan was the founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal Chemical Science, the flagship general chemistry journal published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Honours and awards

  • 2004 - Corday-Morgan medal of Royal Institute of Chemistry
  • 2012 - Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS)
  • 2012 - Elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 2013 - Elected a Corresponding Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE)
  • 2015 - Harrison Howe Award
  • 2017 - Ryoji Noyori Prize
  • 2018 - Elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2021 - Nobel Prize in Chemistry
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David MacMillan, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021's Timeline

March 16, 1968
Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, Scotland, United Kingdom