Co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with John E. Walker and Jens C. Skou in 1997 for his work in uncovering the enzymatic mechanism for synthesizing ATP.

Professor at UCLA, Boyer started studying ATP synthase back in the 1950's. He developed the Binding Change Mechanism which described how the gamma subunit rotates within a ring of alpha and beta subunits, whose binding affinity is modulated by specific interactions with gamma. His lab also established that the energy requiring step in ATP synthesis was not the combining of ADP and inorganic phosphate, but the binding event that brought those two molecules together.