Japanese Nobel Prize winner Eiichi Negishi dies at 85

Japanese Nobel Prize winner Eiichi Negishi dies at 85

The Japanese Eiichi Negishi, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2010 for his work to synthesize complex organic compounds, has died in Indianapolis (United States), where he served as a university professor for more than 40 years.

Born in 1935 in ancient Manchuria under Japanese colonial rule (today located in the Chinese province of Liaodong), Negishi died on June 6, according to Purdue University, where he developed most of his career, reported this Saturday the Japanese media.

After graduating from the University of Tokyo in 1958, he worked for the Teijin textile company before beginning his studies in the US on a Fulbright scholarship. In 1963 he received a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.

Negishi, who had previously been at the institution as a postdoctoral researcher, began teaching at the Purdue department of Chemistry in 1979, until his retirement in 2019.

The Japanese was Purdue’s second Nobel Prize after British chemist Herbert Charles Brown, awarded in 1979, and from whom he received training. Negishi himself would say that his career as a researcher took off after attending a presentation by Brown in 1962.

In 2010 he was recognized with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry together with Akira Suzuki, also from Japan, from the University of Hokkaido (Japan), and the American Richard Heck, from the University of Delaware (USA), for their contributions to the study of the carbon-carbon, with applications in medicine, agriculture or electronics.

Some examples of his research applications include antibiotics that work with drug-resistant bacteria, fluorescent labeling for DNA sequencing, agricultural chemicals that protect crops from fungi, or materials for LED displays.

At the press conference in which he participated after the award was announced, Negishi asked young Japanese researchers to study and pursue their dreams, while encouraging them to leave Japan to face new challenges.

Despite residing in the US, Negishi collaborated with Japanese researchers studying how to create fuel from carbon dioxide from artificial photosynthesis.

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