Ryoji Noyori

Japan Science and Technology Agency

Primary Section: 14, Chemistry
Membership Type: International Member (elected 2003)


Born in Kobe, Japan, in 1938, Ryoji Noyori completed his Master Degree in 1963 at Kyoto University and immediately became Instructor. He received his Dr. Eng. in 1967. Next year he was appointed as Associate Professor at Nagoya University and promoted to Professor in 1972. Noyori spent a postdoctoral year in 1969–1970 at Harvard. He has long enjoyed education and research of chemistry at Nagoya and now is University Professor. Noyori served as President of RIKEN since 2003 before moving to the Japan Science and Technology Agency as Director-General of the Center for Research and Development Strategy in 2015. He was President of the Chemical Society of Japan in 2002–2003.  His research has focused on the fundamentals and applications of organometallic chemistry. Noyori is best known for his development of asymmetric catalysis using chiral organometallic catalysts and promotion of green chemistry. He shared the 2001 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with W. S. Knowles and K. B. Sharpless.  He is a Member of the Japan Academy and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and a Foreign Member of among others the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Royal Society in the UK.

Research Interests

Noyori has been interested in organic chemistry including synthetic organic chemistry, main-group and transition-metal organic chemistry, asymmetric synthesis, new reaction media such as supercritical fluids, green chemistry, physical organic chemistry (molecular structure and reaction mechanism), in vivo molecular science, etc. He has focused on the synthesis of terpenes, alkaloids, antibiotics, prostaglandins, carbohydrates, nucleosides, nucleotides, and certain artificial compounds of theoretical and practical importance. Noyori’s asymmetric catalytic methods are practical and widely used worldwide at research and industrial levels for the synthesis of pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, flavors, and fragrances.

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