Congratulations to Nobel Laureate Professor David MacMillan, Princeton University, Department of Chemistry

Stephen DeAngelis

October 6, 2021

As a former Visiting Professional Executive in Cognitive Reasoning Platforms in Princeton’s Department of Chemistry, I was as thrilled as others associated with Princeton’s chemistry department to learn that Professor David W.C. MacMillan was co-recipient of the 2021 Nobel Prize in chemistry. The New York Times reported, “The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded … to Benjamin List and David W.C. MacMillan for their development of a new tool to build molecules, work that has spurred advances in pharmaceutical research and allowed scientists to construct catalysts with considerably less impact on the environment. The process developed by Dr. List and Dr. MacMillan, while unseen by consumers, has led to a ‘gold rush’ in the field, the Nobel Committee wrote. Known as organocatalysis, it has helped those who apply chemistry to real world problems to build more precise catalysts that reduce waste and streamline the production of existing pharmaceuticals.”[1]


According to the article, “Dr. MacMillan’s phone started buzzing early on Wednesday morning, but he ignored it. When it buzzed again later, he saw Dr. List had texted, saying the Royal Swedish Academy had tried to reach him. He looked back at the earlier message, but it misspelled his name, so he dismissed the text as a prank. Dr. MacMillan wrote back to Dr. List and bet him $1,000 that the text was not real and went back to sleep. Later, he woke up and saw his name on the website of The New York Times. ‘Now I am $1,000 down but a very happy person, Dr. MacMillan said.”


Princeton University tweeted, “It’s not just another day at the lab.” The tweet contained a video of Dr. MacMillan’s colleagues congratulating him. I want to add my heartiest congratulations to Professor David W.C. MacMillan for his outstanding achievement and well-deserved recognition.


[1] Sabrina Imbler, Marc Santora, and Cora Engelbrecht, “Nobel Prize in Chemistry Awarded to Scientists for Tool That Builds Better Catalysts,” The New York Times, 6 October 2021.