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University of Copenhagen’s Morten Meldal wins Nobel Prize in Chemistry: »I'm very, very happy«

Professor of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen Morten Meldal wins Nobel prize.

»At first, I thought that this was a joke from one of my students.«

Morten Meldal smiles and points to the group of students grinning in the corridor of the H. C. Ørsted building at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) where he has his office. But it was not a joke. Professor Morten Meldal wins the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

He physically trembled when he realised the truth of it.

»When I found out that it was actually true, I got a shock. I got the call at 11 am, but I was also told that I couldn’t tell anyone before 12 noon. So I had an hour where I didn’t really know what to do with myself.«


Morten Meldal was born in 1954 in Denmark.

He graduated from the PhD programme in 1986 from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

He has been a professor at the University of Copenhagen since 2011.

He shares the Nobel Prize in Chemistry of SEK 10 million with two other prize winners.

»I am very happy.«

Morten Meldal shares the award with Barry Sharpless from Scripps Research and Carolyn Bertozzi from Stanford University – both from the US. Barry Sharpless has previously also received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2001.

At a press conference at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, the Nobel committee announced that the trio receive the Nobel Prize for a more functional form of ‘development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry’.

Katrine Krogh Andersen is Dean at the Faculty of Science, where Morten Meldal has been employed since 2011.

»It’s absolutely fantastic! And then on the 100-year anniversary of Bohr receiving the Nobel Prize.«

Her reaction reflects very well the feelings of Meldal himself:

»It’s a great honour, and I’m very happy.«

Prize for click chemistry

According to the Royal Swedish Academy of Science and Technology, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2022 is about avoiding over-complicating things, and making things really simple.

»Barry Sharpless and Morten Meldal laid the foundation for a functional form of chemistry – click chemistry – in which molecular building blocks snap together quickly and efficiently. Carolyn Bertozzi has taken click chemistry to a new dimension and started utilising it in living organisms,« the academy writes in a press release.

In the call from the Academy, Morten Meldal talked to several of the members. And he realized how big this is. Getting a Nobel Prize:

»This really means a lot. Not just for myself, but for the department, my colleagues and my family. And for Denmark. It’s great to get a Nobel Prize in Denmark. It does not happen often.

»I am very, very happy.«