Die ab 1958 gut zugänglichen C(II)-Isocyanide und deren Eintopf-Methodik, der Vierkomponenten-Reaktion (Ugi-Reaktion, U-4CR) wurden ein wichtiger Teil der Synthesechemie. Seit 1993 sind die Multikomponentenreaktionen (MCRs) mit bis zu 8 Edukten zur industriell bevorzugten Methode zur Herstellung und zur Suche nach neuen Produkten geworden. Seit kurzem ist es zudem möglich, stereoselektive U-4CRs durchzuführen.
Ivar Ugi was born on September 5, 1930 in Estonia on the island Saaremaa, living there till 1941 and from then on most of the time in Germany, and 1968-1971 at Los Angeles, CA.
He studied chemistry and mathematics (1949-51) at the University of Tübingen. He became Dr. rer. nat. in 1954 and Dr. habil. in 1960 at the University LMU of München. He was a member of the Bayer AG at Leverkusen in 1962-1968 and director of chemical research at the Central Research Institute and Chairman of the Basic Research Committee.
From August of 1968 on I. Ugi was Professor of Chemistry at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles till 1971.
Since 1971 he has received the Chair I of Hans Fischer of Organic Chemistry at the Technical University of Munich, he had his office until 1999 and is an eremitus since then.
In 1964 Ivar Ugi received the Chemistry Award of the Academy of Science at Göttingen for the discovery of the Four-Component-Reaction and the development of mathematical models of the logical structure of chemistry. He obtained the "Challenge Future Prize" of the Philip Morris Foundation in 1988, and four years later he was awarded by the "Emil Fischer Medal" of the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker at Heidelberg for the profound progress in the same type of research. In 1995 he got the first "Ugi-Dugundji Medal" for his pioneering work in the application of mathematics to chemistry and the realization of its implemented form from the Second International Symposium on Knowledge Aquisation, Representation and Processing KARP-95 at Auburn, Alabama, USA. In October 1999 he received the "Max-Bergmann-Medal 1999".
He was chairman of the International Conference on Computers in Chemical Research and Education, ICCCRE, in 1985 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. In October 2000 he was co-organizer of the "First International Conference on MultiComponent Reactions (MCR 2000)".
In 1987 I. Ugi became a member of the Swedish Royal Society of Science, the Estonian Academy of Sciences in 1990, and a honored member of the Academy of Science in New York in 1994.