A SCOTTISH-born scientist has won The Nobel Prize for chemistry.

Professor David WC MacMillan of Princeton University picked up the prestigious scientific award alongside German scientist Benjamin List and their work is already ‘benefiting humankind greatly’.

The pair were announced as winners on Wednesday by Goran Hansson, secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

They picked up the award for their work in developing a new way for building molecules known as "asymmetric organocatalysis".

Strangely, both scientists were unaware they were working on the same project. However, it is not uncommon for several scientists who work in related fields to share the prize.



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Professor Benjamin List said: “It was a huge surprise; I absolutely didn’t expect this.

“I did not initially know that Professor MacMillan was working on the same subject and figured my hunch might just be a stupid idea until it worked.

"But I did feel that this could be something big."

Now professor MacMillan and professor List will be awarded with a Nobel Prize gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (£800,000).

READ MORE: Nobel physics prize goes to scientists for work including climate discoveries

The prize money comes from a bequest left by the prize's creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.

The academy said Professor MacMillan was born in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, in 1968.

Princeton University said he gained his undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Glasgow in 1991, before being awarded a PhD in organic chemistry at the University of California, Irvine, in 1996.

He studied at Harvard University before beginning his independent career at the University of California, Berkeley, moving to Caltech and then Princeton in 2006.

News of the Belshill man has been spreading throughout the day, with his former university being amongst the first congratulating him via social media.



Other categories in the Nobel prize are set to be announced in the coming days with awards for outstanding work in the fields of literature, peace and economics still to come.

Professor David WC MacMillan has been contacted by the Herald about his success.