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“We keep adding new problems”

An Interview with John Hartwig

Nachrichten aus der Chemie, Februar 2023, S. 8-9, DOI, PDF. Login für Volltextzugriff.

Von Wiley-VCH zur Verfügung gestellt

John Hartwig is co-discoverer of the Buchwald-Hartwig amination – a widely used palladium-catalyzed coupling reaction for the formation of C-N bonds. For his research, he received the Emanuel Merck Lectureship last year. A discussion about creativity, useful reactions and pricey metals.

Nachrichten aus der Chemie: You were quite young when you developed the reaction named after you. How did this affect your career?

John Hartwig: I worked as a postdoc in bioinorganic chemistry, on anti-cancer-drugs. Afterwards, I then started working on compounds with metal boron bonds. The reaction that I was interested in discovering, this named reaction was just a single step within the catalytic cycle. I looked for complexes that would undergo that reaction. I didn’t anticipate that the catalytic would be so important synthetically. But because it was important for synthetic chemists, my program then became much more oriented towards catalysis and synthetic chemistry. So the Hartwig-Buchwald amination influenced my career in many ways: it got me tenure and my job and pointed us toward synthetic organic chemistry.

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