Report on the Fourth Mitsui Chemicals International Symposium on Catalysis Science (MICS2009)

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Lectures

Plenary Lecture

Emeritus Prof. Henri B. Kagan (Université Paris-Sud, France)

Asymmetric Catalysis, a Promising Route to Biologically Active Compounds or Their Synthetic Intermediates.
Emeritus Prof. Henri B. Kagan

Emeritus Prof. Kagan has made a significant contribution to the field of chirality. He introduced the concept of C2-symmetry*1 in asymmetric catalysis by his pioneering work on asymmetric hydrogenation using the Rh-DIOP complex which has inspired the development of asymmetric catalysis. Additionally, he discovered the non-linear effects (NLEs*2) involved in asymmetric reactions, the departure from the linear relationship between the enantiomeric excess of a chiral catalyst and the full extent of an asymmetric reaction. This phenomenon has given us significant information on the mechanism of asymmetric reactions and is expected to play an important role in revealing the origin of chirality regarding biological compounds.

In this lecture, Emeritus Prof. Kagan provided a broad perspective on the historical developments of asymmetric catalysis and on their industrial applications to access optically active organic compounds. In the introduction, he made an historical review of the establishment of the concept of chirality and informed us of the requirements necessary for practical asymmetric catalysis. After which he referred to some important catalytic asymmetric reactions and their industrial applications for the manufacture of useful chiral compounds. Thus, he delivered the key to the industrial application of asymmetric catalysis and concluded that asymmetric catalysis has a positive role to play if we want to access biologically active compounds.

*1
C2 symmetriy: 180º rotation about an axis through the molecule that results in a geometry equivalent to the starting geometry.
*2
NLE (non-linear effect): The departure from a linear relationship between the enantiomeric excess of a chiral catalyst and the full extent of an asymmetric reaction.
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