Catalysis: The Enabling Science for Polymer Chemistry


Catalysis: The Enabling Science for Polymer Chemistry

Prof. Robert Waymouth
Department of Chemistry
Stanford University


Catalysis is also a foundational pillar for sustainable chemical processes; the discovery of highly active, environmentally benign catalytic processes is a central goal of Green Chemistry. Polymers are ubiquitous and are highly useful modern materials. Catalysis has proven the enabling science for polymer synthesis, as well as a key strategy for generating new monomers from petrochemical and renewable feedstocks. The development of new families of catalysts continues to drive innovation in the generation of new polymeric materials. Polymers derived from renewable resources provide an attractive alternative to many petrochemical thermoplastics due to their attractive and improving cost/performance characteristics, their application as biomedical materials, and their potential to mitigate the environmental impact of discarded plastic waste in landfills. Nevertheless, the challenges in generating new families of biomass polymers that match the performance of petroleum-based plastics are formidable. We have developed new catalytic methods for transforming biomass feedstocks into new monomers and chemical intermediates. With Jim Hedrick of IBM, we have developed a new family of organic catalysts for the synthesis of plastics derived from renewable resources. Mechanistic and theoretical investigations generated new scientific insights on the diversity of mechanistic pathways for organocatalytic polymerization reactions and the opportunities that these new insights have created for the synthesis of well-defined macromolecular architectures, including high molecular weight cyclic polyesters.


Speaker Background

Robert Waymouth is the Robert Eckles Swain Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University. He received B.S. in Mathematics and B.A. in Chemistry from Washington and Lee University and his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the Caltech in 1987 with Professor R.H. Grubbs. He was a postdoctoral fellow with the late Professor Piero Pino at the ETH in Zurich in 1987 and joined the faculty at Stanford as an Assistant Professor in 1988. He received the Alan T. Waterman Award from the NSF in 1996, the Cooperative Research Award in Polymer Science in 2009, and EPA's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 2012 with Dr. James Hedrick. He has won several university teaching awards, including the Walter J. Gores Award, the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award, and is currently a Bass Fellow in Undergraduate Education. His research interests are at the interface of Inorganic, Organic and Polymer Chemistry, in particular the development of new concepts in catalysis for the selective synthesis of both macromolecules and fine chemicals. Particular areas of interest include catalytic polymerization reactions, the development of organocatalytic polymerization strategies, and selective oxidation catalysis.




Wednesday, May 22


Michael's Restaurant at Shoreline Park Mountain View, CA  94043
Directions  Map


6 PM social hour
7 PM dinner
8 PM lecture


Employed/postdoc Student/unemployed/retired
Early Registration - Up to 7 days in advance of deadline $30 $15
Registration - Up to deadline $35 $20
After deadline/walk-in (Availability NOT guaranteed) $40 $25

Lecture-only is free.


We accept cash or checks, but are unable to accept payment by credit card at this time. Payment is taken at the door.  No-shows are responsible for full payment of registration fee.


Please register on the web page or contact:
Paul Mansky

phone: 415-602-1402

Deadline for registration:

5PM, Tuesday, May 14 for early registration discount
5PM, Tuesday, May 21 for registration (or until venue has reached capacity.)

Dinner Selection:

Broiled Salmon
Breast of Chicken with Herbed Butter
Grilled Vegetable Brochette with Wild Rice

We are sorry but registration for this event is now closed.

Please contact us if you would like to know if spaces are still available.