A scientist born in Scotland was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry with a German scientist for their work on developing a new way to build molecules.
David WC MacMillan of Princeton University and Benjamin List of the Max Planck Institute were announced as the winners by Goran Hansson, Secretary General of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
The Nobel panel said scientists in 2000 independently developed a new method of catalysis called “asymmetric organocatalysis”.
“This is already of great benefit to humanity,” said Nobel panel member Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede.
Speaking after the announcement, Prof List said the award was a “huge surprise”.
“I absolutely did not expect it,” he said, adding that he was on vacation in Amsterdam with his family when the call from Sweden arrived.
Professor List said he didn’t initially know Professor MacMillan was working on the same topic and thought his hunch might just be a “stupid idea” until it worked.
“I felt it could be something big,” he added.
It is common for several scientists working in related fields to share the prize.
Last year, the award went to Emmanuelle Charpentier from France and Jennifer A Doudna from the United States for the development of a gene editing tool that revolutionized science by providing a way to modify DNA.
The prestigious award is accompanied by a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (£ 800,000).
The prize money comes from a bequest left by the creator of the prize, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.
On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the Physiology or Medicine Prize to Americans David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries in how the human body perceives temperature and touch it.
The The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded on Tuesday to three scientists whose work has tidied up an apparent mess, helping to explain and predict the complex forces of nature, including expanding our understanding of climate change.
Prizes will also be awarded this week for outstanding work in the fields of literature, peace and economics.