Prof. David Milstein of the Weizmann Institute is the 5772 Israel Prize laureate for chemistry and physics, Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar announced Sunday.
Milstein won the prize for his innovative research that finds new ways to create compounds using materials containing metals. His studies have environmental ramifications because they can help develop cleaner industrial processes.
During his research, Milstein discovered new methods for metal-mediated activation of strong chemical bonds. Among his various research projects, the one considered to be most important helped scientists understand the bonds between carbon and hydrogen.
Milstein's research also contributed to understanding catalyzation, the process of speeding up chemical processes. The processes he studied could lead to the development of various industrial products without creating industrial waste.
For example, a new reaction he developed creates super-strong bonds that "glue" proteins together and could play an important role in the production of products such as nylon. The discovery of this reaction was named by the journal, Science, as one of the top 10 scientific breakthroughs of 2007.
Milstein was born in Germany in 1947 and came to Israel when he was two.
He did his military service in a classified unit and worked thereafter as a senior researcher at Du Pont. Around 10 years ago, he founded the Weizmann Institute's Kimmel Center for Molecular Design, which he now heads.
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