Professor Robert Grubbs, 2005 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, visited Otterbein University from Feb. 20-21, as the guest of the 2014 Science Lecture Series (SLS). His lecture, Green Chemistry: Lessons from catalysis
, was held on Thursday, Feb. 20.
While he is on campus, Grubbs also presented a technical lecture on the design and applications of selective olefin metathesis catalysts to chemistry students and faculty on Friday, Feb. 21.
Grubbs is the Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Florida and his doctorate degree at Columbia University. Following a one-year NIH postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University, he was appointed to the faculty of Michigan State University before joining the faculty of the California Institute of Technology.
Grubbs’ research interests involve the design, synthesis, and mechanistic studies of complexes that catalyze useful organic transformations. In recent years the major focus of his group has been on the development of catalysts for the olefin metathesis reaction that are extremely tolerant of organic functional groups, and their use in the ring opening polymerization of cyclic olefins to yield polymers with useful mechanical, electronic or optical properties. These catalysts are also widely used in organic synthesis and the “Grubbs catalyst” is commercially available.
His many awards include the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award; Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship; American Chemical Society (ACS) National Award in Organometallic Chemistry; Arthur C. Cope Scholar; ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry; Nagoya Medal of Organic Chemistry; Fluka Reagent of the Year; Mack Memorial Award; Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry; ACS Herman F. Mark Polymer Chemistry Award; and ACS Herbert C. Brown Award for Creative Research in Synthetic Methods. Grubbs was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1989 and became a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994.
The Science Lecture Series was created in 1987 to bring national experts on topics at the forefront of scientific research to campus to educate and enrich science majors and non-majors alike. Through annual seminars, national leaders in science and technology share their insights about the future of scientific endeavor. Past lectures have included The History of Violence with Dr. Steven Pinker; The Galactic Center: Uncovering the Pulse of our Galaxy with Dr. Andrea Ghez; Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species with Dr. Sean B. Carroll; Does the Everyday World Really Obey Quantum Mechanics? with Sir Anthony Leggett; and At the Crossroads of Science, Philosophy and the Arts with Dr. Alan Lightman. Speakers are chosen by a committee comprised of representatives from the departments of Chemistry, Equine Science, Psychology, Nursing, Physics and Astronomy, Life and Earth Sciences, and Mathematical and Computer Sciences. The Science Lecture Series is funded by the George W. and Mildred K. White Science Seminar Fund. The 2014 Science Lecture Series is supported in large part by a generous gift from The Lubrizol Foundation.