Emerging Frontiers in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Emerging Frontiers in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

nobel badge mask ROBERT HOWARD GRUBBS



Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry

Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

California Institute of Technology, USA


Dr. Robert H. Grubbs is the Victor and Elizabeth Arkins Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, Calif., USA, where he has been a faculty member since 1978. He earned a B.S. in chemistry in 1963 and an M.S. in chemistry in 1965 under Merle Battiste at the University of Florida. He earned a Ph.D. in chemistry under Ronald Breslow at Columbia University (USA) in 1968. He was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow working with James P. Collman at Stanford University from 1968 to 1969. He was previously at Michigan Stare University from 1969 to 1978, achieving the rank of associate professor.

The Grubbs group discovers new catalysts and studies their fundamental chemistry and applications. Catalysts facilitate the transformation of organic molecules and are used widely in industry and academia for the preparation of important organic compounds and polymers. A family of catalysts for the interconversion of olefins, the olefin metathesis reaction has been discovered in the Grubbs laboratory. In addition to their broad usage in academic research, these catalysts are now used commercially to prepare new pharmaceuticals, composites for structural applications and for the conversion of biorenewable carbon sources into fuels and commodity chemicals. Catalysts for other useful transformations are also being developed and studied in detail.

His more recent awards have included the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2005); Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry (2000); Pauling Award Medal (2003); Havinga Medal (2006) from Leiden University; Golden Plate Award (2006) from the Academy of Achievement); eight ACS Awards, including Polymer Chemistry (1995), Arthur C. Cope Award (2002), Award for Creative Invention (2009), ACS Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry (2011) and the Giulio Natta Award for Chemistry (2014). He was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (1989) and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering (2015); Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1994); Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2006); and Fellow of the American Chemical Society (2009) and ACS Polymer Division Fellow (2010). He has received the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Chemists, Chemical Heritage Foundation (2010); National Academy of Inventors Fellows Medallion (2014); and the George A. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry (2017). He has been awarded many honorary degrees, the most recent being an Honorary Degree of D.Sc. from University of Warwick, Coventry (2010); Honors Causa Doctrorate, Univerdidad de Huelva, Spain (2012); Commencement Speaker at KAUST, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (2012); RWTH Aachen University Honorary Doctorate (Dr.rer.nat.h.c.) (2013); and Doctor of Science, honoris causa, from The Hong Kong Baptist University (2015). He has more than 620 publications and more than 150 patents based on his research.

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