Richard F. Heck

Richard Fred Heck is an American chemist well known for the discovery and development of the “Heck reaction”. He was awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2010 with Japanese chemists Ei-ichiNegishi and Akira Suzuki, for their work on the palladium-catalyzed coupling reactions in organic synthesis. The reaction uses palladium as a catalyst in reactions coupling aryl halides with alkenes.

Richard F. Heck discovered a new carbon-carbon bond-forming reaction mediated by palladium, which forms substituted olefins. The reaction is now named as “Heck Reaction” or “Heck-Mizoroki reaction” (Tsutomu Mizoroki detailed a similar reaction independently). This method is a valuable framework for organic synthesis.

Heck’s reaction was also used to couple fluorescent dyes to DNA bases, which helped in DNA sequencing and sequencing of the human genome.

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Chemist CHEMIST (palladium-catalyzed coupling reactions, heck reactions)
Richard Fred Heck
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2005 – The Wallace H. Carothers Award

2006 – Herbert C. Brown Award

2010 – Nobel Prize in Chemistry

J. T. Link: The Intramolecular Heck Reaction. In: Organic Reactions. Band 60, Wiley, Hoboken, New Jersey 2002, S. 157–534.
R. F. Heck: Palladium Reagents in Organic Synthesis, Academic Press, New York 1985. XX, 461 S., ISBN 0-12-336140-0.

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    Professor of Chemistry
    University of Delaware