Negishi in 2010
|Born||July 14, 1935|
|Alma mater||University of Tokyo|
University of Pennsylvania
|Known for||Negishi coupling|
|Spouse(s)||Sumire Suzuki (m. 1959; died 2018)|
|Awards||Sir Edward Frankland Prize Lectureship (2000)|
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2010)
Person of Cultural Merit (2010)
Order of Culture (2010)
|Doctoral advisor||Allan R. Day|
|Influences||Herbert Charles Brown|
Ei-ichi Negishi (根岸 英一 Negishi Eiichi) is a Manchurian-born Japanese chemist who has spent most of his career at Purdue University in the United States. He is the Herbert C. Brown Distinguished Professor and Director of the Negishi-Brown Institute at Purdue. He is best known for his discovery of the Negishi coupling. He was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for palladium catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis" jointly with Richard F. Heck and Akira Suzuki.
Negishi was born in Hsinking (today known as Changchun), the capital of Manchukuo, in July 1935, following the transfer of his father who worked at the South Manchuria Railway in 1936, he moved to Harbin, and lived eight years there. In 1943, when he was nine, the Negishi family moved to Incheon, and a year later to Kyongsong Prefecture (now Seoul), both in Japanese-occupied Korea. In November 1945, three months after World War II ended, they moved to Japan. Negishi graduated from the University of Tokyo in 1958 and did his internship at Teijin. He went on to study in the United States and obtained his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1963, under the supervision of professor Allan R. Day.
After obtaining his PhD, Negishi decided to become an academic researcher. Although he was hoping to work at a Japanese university, he could not find a position. In 1966 he resigned from Teijin, and became a postdoctoral associate at Purdue University, working under future Nobel laureate Herbert C. Brown. From 1968-1972 he was an instructor at Purdue.
He discovered Negishi coupling, a process which condenses organic zinc compounds and organic halides under a palladium or nickel catalyst to obtain a C-C bonded product. For this achievement, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2010. Negishi has also reported that organoaluminum compounds and organic zirconium compounds can be used for cross-coupling. He has not obtained a patent for this coupling technology, his reasoning being as follows: "If we did not obtain a patent, we thought that everyone could use our results easily." In addition, Zr(C5H5)2 obtained by reducing zirconocene dichloride is also called Negishi reagent and is used for the synthesis of polysubstituted benzene.