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Andreas Pfaltz (born 10 May 1948) is a Swiss chemist known for his work in the area of coordination chemistry and catalysis.

Andreas Pfaltz
Born (1948-05-10) 10 May 1948 (age 70)
Alma materETH Zurich
Known forchiral ligands, coordination chemistry and catalysis
AwardsPracejus Prize (2003)
Prelog Medal (2003)
Ryoji Noyori Prize (2008)
Chirality Medal (2016)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Basel
Max Planck Institute for Coal Research
ETH Zurich
Thesis (1978)
Doctoral advisorProf. Albert Eschenmoser


Education and professional lifeEdit

Andreas Pfaltz studied at ETH Zurich, completing his undergraduate diploma in natural sciences in 1972 and his PhD in organic chemistry in 1978. His doctoral supervisor was Albert Eschenmoser, whose research into vitamin B12 and other corrin rings would influence Pfaltz's early research.[1] Following a two-year postdoctoral position at Columbia University (early 1978 – late 1979), working for Gilbert Stork on the synthesis of Rifamycin,[2] he returned to ETH Zurich as a lecturer and began his own research. In 1990 he was appointed as an associate professor at the University of Basel, becoming a full professor in 1993. Between 1995 and 1998 he was a director of the prestigious Max Planck Institute for Coal Research, afterwards returning to the University of Basel, where he has remained till the present day.


Pfaltz's early research was influenced by his PhD supervisor Albert Eschenmoser and was largely based around the synthesis of corrins,[3] porphyrins[4] and other macrocycles. During the second half of the 1980s he began to use fragments of these macrocycles as novel ligands for asymmetric catalysis, with chiral C2-symmetric semicorrins being the most successful example.[5][6] Following the development of structurally related bis(oxazoline)s Pfaltz began using and developing various oxazoline based ligands, making significant contributions to the known chemistry of phosphinooxazolines.[7][8] His current research activities remain focused on ligand development, asymmetric catalysis and catalyst screening.

Professional appointmentsEdit

  • Scientific staff member, ETH Zürich, 1980–1986
  • Privatdozent (lecturer), ETH Zürich, 1987–1990
  • Associate professor, University of Basel, 1990–1993
  • Professor of organic chemistry, University of Basel, 1993–1995
  • Head of the Homogeneous Catalysis Section, Max Planck Institute for Coal Research, 1995–1998
  • Professor of chemistry, University of Basel, 1999–2015
  • Professor emeritus, University of Basel, 2015–present


  • Werner Prize of the Swiss Chemical Society, 1989
  • Wilhelm Manchot Research Professorship, TU München, 2002
  • Pracejus Prize of the German Chemical Society, 2003
  • Prelog Medal of the ETH Zürich, 2003
  • Ryoji Noyori Prize, The Society of Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Japan, 2008
  • Heilbronner-Hückel Lecturer, Swiss Chemical Society and German Chemical Society, 2011
  • Member of The German Academy of Sciences "Leopoldina", 2011
  • Yamada-Koga Prize, Japan Research Foundation of Optically Active Compounds, 2011
  • President of the Bürgenstock conference, 2012
  • Chirality Medal, (2016)


  1. ^ Pfaltz, Andreas (1999). "From Corrin Chemistry to Asymmetric Catalysis - A Personal Account". Synlett. 1999 (S1): 835–842. doi:10.1055/s-1999-3122.
  2. ^ Helmchen, Günter (5 May 2008). "Andreas Pfaltz: on the Occasion of his 60th Birthday". Advanced Synthesis & Catalysis. 350 (7–8): 951–952. doi:10.1002/adsc.200800113.
  3. ^ Rasetti, Vittorio; Hilpert, Kurt; Fässler, Alexander; Pfaltz, Andreas; Eschenmoser, Albert (1 December 1981). "The Dihydrocorphinol→ Corrin Ring Contraction: A Potentially Biomimetic Mode of Formation of the Corrin Structure". Angewandte Chemie International Edition in English. 20 (12): 1058–1060. doi:10.1002/anie.198110581.
  4. ^ Pfaltz, Andreas; Jaun, Bernhard; Fassler, Alexander; Eschenmoser, Albert; Jaenchen, Rolf; Gilles, Hans Harald; Diekert, Gabriele; Thauer, Rudolf K. (5 May 1982). "Zur Kenntnis des Faktors F430 aus methanogenen Bakterien: Struktur des porphinoiden Ligandsystems". Helvetica Chimica Acta. 65 (3): 828–865. doi:10.1002/hlca.19820650320.
  5. ^ Fritschi, Hugo; Leutenegger, Urs; Pfaltz, Andreas (1 November 1986). "Chiral Copper-Semicorrin Complexes as Enantioselective Catalysts for the Cyclopropanation of Olefins by Diazo Compounds". Angewandte Chemie International Edition in English. 25 (11): 1005–1006. doi:10.1002/anie.198610051.
  6. ^ Pfaltz, Andreas (1 June 1993). "Chiral semicorrins and related nitrogen heterocycles as ligands in asymmetric catalysis". Accounts of Chemical Research. 26 (6): 339–345. doi:10.1021/ar00030a007.
  7. ^ Helmchen, Günter; Pfaltz, Andreas (2000). "PhosphinooxazolinesA New Class of Versatile, Modular P,N-Ligands for Asymmetric Catalysis". Accounts of Chemical Research. 33 (6): 336–345. doi:10.1021/ar9900865. PMID 10891051.
  8. ^ von Matt, Peter; Pfaltz, Andreas (1 April 1993). "Chiral Phosphinoaryldihydrooxazoles as Ligands in Asymmetric Catalysis: Pd-Catalyzed Allylic Substitution". Angewandte Chemie International Edition in English. 32 (4): 566–568. doi:10.1002/anie.199305661.