The Tetrahedron Prize


About the Tetrahedron Prize

The Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry was established in 1980 by the Executive Board of Editors and the Publisher of Tetrahedron Publications. It is intended to honour the memory of the founding co-Chairmen of these publications, Professor Sir Robert Robinson and Professor Robert Burns Woodward.

The Tetrahedron Prize is now awarded on an annual basis for creativity in Organic Chemistry or Bioorganic/Medicinal Chemistry, and is presented to a chemist who has made significant original contributions to the field, in its broadest sense. The prize consists of a gold medal, a certificate, and a monetary award of US $10,000. In 2017 the award honors significant original, creative contributions to the field of Bioorganic/Medicinal Chemistry. The winner is expected to write an appropriate article for Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry  as part of a Symposium-in-Print compiled in their honour.

Application Process

To nominate candidates, please send a document (as PDF) containing the following elements:

- The nominee’s name and current affiliation and/or contact details
- The nominee’s website
- A biographical sketch
- A summary of the nominee's past achievements (up to 1500 words)
- Description why he/she should be considered for the award
- A list of no more than 25 of the nominee’s key publications
- Name, affiliation and contact details of the person making the nomination.

Seconding letters should be provided as separate documents.

All entries must be nominated by external scientists, and self nominations are not accepted. Nominations can be updated and renewed every year and will remain valid for three years after the last renewal.

Please send all nominations and seconding letters to Barbara Plasmans (

For more information please follow us on our social media channels:

Selection Process

An executive board of 25 editors select from a pool of nominations and all vote for a top five. The rotating committee (5 members of the executive board) vote and select a winner.


If you have any questions please contact: Jan Willem Wijnen,


The winner of the 2016 award is:


Prof.dr. Ben L. Feringa
University of Groningen, the Netherlands

Elsevier and the Board of Executive Editors of the Tetrahedron journal series are pleased to announce that the 2016 Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry has been awarded to Prof.dr. Ben L. Feringa, University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He receives the award for his outstanding contributions to organic chemistry.

Professor Feringa said, “Winning the Tetrahedron Prize is not only a great honor for me personally, but also for my team of excellent young students and coworkers whom I have worked alongside over the years and are responsible for many discoveries in our labs. This is a very prestigious prize and I am extremely grateful to the giants in our field who have acted as a source of inspiration throughout my career and whose shoulders I stand on to continue the tradition of excellence in Organic Chemistry.”

Professor Stephen Martin, Chairman of the Editorial Board of Tetrahedron Journals, said on announcing this year’s winner, “Professor Feringa has performed truly ground-breaking research in the diverse fields of dynamic molecular systems, catalysis, and stereochemistry. His contributions to molecular nanotechnology, including molecular switches and rotors, have played a major role in shaping the field of nanomachines. Similarly, his discoveries in catalysis, particularly of enantioselective transformations, have had a profound influence in synthetic organic chemistry and its applications to natural product chemistry."

Professor Feringa's research covers synthetic and physical organic chemistry. Inspired by Nature's principles of molecular assembly, recognition, transport, motion and catalysis, the goal is to exploit the full potential of synthetic chemistry to create new structures and functions. A major part of his research is directed towards dynamic molecular systems. The focus is on molecular nanoscience, novel responsive materials and photo-pharma exploring biohybrid systems, self-assembly, molecular switches and motors. A second part of his research deals with the development (and application in chemical biology) of novel stereoselective synthetic methods and asymmetric catalysis. Chirality is a leading theme and over the years a broad expertise in fundamental aspects of stereochemistry has been acquired including chiroptical phenomena, chiral amplification and origin of chirality.

The Tetrahedron prize will be presented during the 2017 Fall National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, in Washington, DC, USA (20-24 August 2017).

Tetrahedron Prize 2016 video

Previous Winners


William L. Jorgensen, Yale University, USA, for his outstanding contributions to organic chemistry.
Scopus profile


Professor Barry Trost, Stanford University, USA and Professor Jiro Tsuji, Honorary Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan, for their outstanding contributions to organic chemistry.


Shankar Balasubramaniam, Cambridge University, UK, for his contributions to nucleic acid chemistry and biology.
Scopus profile


Paul A. Wender, Stanford University, USA, for his contributions to synthetic and bioorganic chemistry, ranging from the discovery and development of new reactions, through total syntheses of many key natural product target molecules, to the design of new agents for treating major human diseases.
Scopus profile


Manfred T. Reetz, Max-Planck-Institut fur Kohlenforschung, Honorary Professor at Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, for his work on enantioselective catalysis to control stereoselectivity, often using transition-metal catalysts.
Scopus profile


Satoshi Ōmura, Kitasato Institute in Tokyo, Japan, for his comprehensive studies on the chemistry and biology of microbial metabolites.
Scopus profile


Steven V. Ley, University of Cambridge, for his contributions to the fields of synthetic organic methodology, chemical technology and complex natural product synthesis, publishing almost 700 research papers to date.
Scopus profile


Larry E. Overman, University of California at Irvine, CA, in recognition of his creative and innovative contributions in reaction design, notably the invention of cationic cyclization reactions such as the aza-Cope-Mannich reaction.
Scopus profile


J. Fraser Stoddart
Scopus profile


Hisashi Yamamoto  , University of Chicago, USA, for his outstanding contributions ranging over a wide expanse of synthetic chemistry, especially in the area of synthetic methodology.
Scopus profile


Bernd Giese, for his creative research in free radical chemistry and his investigation of electron transfer processes in DNA.
Scopus profile


Koji Nakanishi,for his pioneering research in the use of spectroscopic and chemical methods in determining the chemical structure of natural products
Scopus profile


Robert H. Grubbs; Dieter Seebach


Kyriacos C. Nicolaou


Yoshito Kishi


Peter B. Dervan


Henri B. Kagan


David A. Evans; Teruaki Mukaiyama


Stuart L. Schreiber


Samuel Danishefsky


Alan R. Battersby; A. Ian Scott


Ryoji Noyori; K. Barry Sharpless


William S. Johnson


Michael J. S. Dewar


Arthur J. Birch


Gilbert Stork


Elias J. Corey


Albert Eschenmoser