Professor Richard Schrock ForMemRS

Richard Schrock is a Nobel laureate chemist who discovered the first organometallic catalysts used in olefin metathesis, a commercial process that synthesises higher olefins — also called alkenes — from oil. Known as Schrock catalysts, Richard’s patented discoveries support the clean and efficient production of pharmaceutical drugs, including cancer-targeting nanoparticles, as well as fuels and high-strength plastics for engineering.

Schrock catalysts consist of carbene complexes that feature high-valent metals, such as molybdenum and tungsten. Due to their presence, olefin metathesis is a relatively simple process that produces fewer by-products and hazardous waste products than other organic reactions. Richard’s catalysts reduce the number of steps required to synthesise useful hydrocarbons by two thirds.

Amongst his many industrial and academic achievements, Richard co-founded a Swiss-based company that develops proprietary catalysts. In 2005, he shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Yves Chauvin and Robert Grubbs for their development of the metathesis method, and in 2013, the chemistry library at the University of Sussex was named in his honour.

Subject groups

  • Chemistry

    Chemistry, organic, Chemistry, inorganic


  • Nobel Prize in Chemistry

    Jointly with Yves Chauvin and Robert H. Grubbs for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis.

Professor Richard Schrock ForMemRS
Elected 2008