The University Distinguished Lecture Series in Science and Engineering is a new lecture series from the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice President for Research. The inaugural lecture on Monday, October 29, features Nobel-Prize winner Robert Howard Grubbs and will be held at 3 pm in the Student Activities Center Ballroom B. All lectures in the series are free and open to the public; light refreshments will be served.
Catalysis: Green Chemicals and Materials
Robert Howard Grubbs, PhD, was awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his pioneering work in metathesis. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry, he has more than 500 publications and 115 patents based on his research. Grubbs is the Atkins Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, where he has been a faculty member since 1978.
Abstract: Plastics, pharmaceuticals and fuels — essentials of modern life — are all produced through specific chemical transformations. In most of these cases catalysts provide the key component in their production. As pressures for cleaner processes grow, new types of catalysts are required that open new ways to transform renewable carbon sources to fuels and products, and provide more sustainable products. Examples from developments in olefin metathesis catalysts will be used to demonstrate some of these principles. New catalysts have resulted from basic research that are currently being used for the clean production of insect pheromones to replace pesticides, for the construction of lighter, tougher wind turbines and for the production of fuels and chemicals from bio-sources.