Invitation to Lecture: “The Organometallic Chemistry of Chemically Recyclable Plastics” – April 1, 2022

The UMD Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
cordially invites you to the



Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Chemistry
Princeton University


Friday, April 1, 2022
3:30 p.m. Reception, Chemistry Building Atrium
4:00 p.m. Lecture, Chemistry Building Room 1407

Location of Chemistry Bldg (091) & Visitor Parking:

About the Talk:
Plastics enable our quality of life in everything from food preservation to disposable facemasks. Since 1950, over 9 billion tons of plastics have been synthesized. Where have they gone? Sadly, almost all of this plastic is still with us today and is now found just about everywhere on Earth—from the deepest oceans to mountaintops. While a knee jerk reaction may be to ban plastic, a more thoughtful analysis reveals a more nuanced strategy is needed. My lecture will focus on the fundamental chemistry and catalysis required to enable a sustainable plastics age. One area of emphasis will be on the preparation of new polymer microstructures prepared from abundant hydrocarbon building blocks such as butadiene are chemically recyclable—re-exposure to the iron catalyst reverts the plastic to pristine monomer. The synthesis and properties of this new cycloaddition polymer and materials derived from it will be presented. A second area of emphasis is the integration of polymerization methods to prepare polyolefins from monomers derived from CO2. The implications of these catalytic reactions on a new, responsible hydrocarbon future as well as the fundamental organometallic chemistry will be presented.

About the Speaker:
Paul J. Chirik is the Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University. He is the editor-in-chief of Organometallics and an expert in sustainable chemistry and catalysis with Earth-abundant transition metals. Chirik earned a B.S. in chemistry from Virginia Tech in 1995, received a Ph.D. in chemistry from California Institute of Technology in 2000, and completed a postdoc at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2001. He has served as an associate editor for Catalysis Science & Technology and on the editorial advisory boards for Inorganic Chemistry and Organometallics. Chirik received the Gabor A. Somorjai Award for Creative Research in Catalysis and the Linus Pauling Medal in 2021.

Chirik is a leader in sustainable chemistry, with an emphasis on developing chemical catalysts that come from abundant, environmentally benign elements rather than the rare or environmentally damaging materials currently used in many manufacturing processes. His research also focuses on developing chemical transformations, such as catalytic ammonia synthesis, that are compatible with renewable resources and ultimately reduce fossil fuel inputs and carbon dioxide pollution.

About the Lecture:
Tobin J. Marks (B.S. ’66, chemistry), Northwestern University’s Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Materials Science & Engineering, and the Vladimir N. Ipatieff Professor of Catalytic Chemistry, established the Tobin J. Marks Endowed Lectureship in Chemical Discovery at UMD in 2016. The 2017 ACS Priestley Medalist, Marks has distinguished himself as one of the most prolific chemists in the world through his innovative and interdisciplinary research in inorganic, organic and materials chemistry. The lecture is hosted by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. The inaugural lecture in 2020 featured 2019 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Stanley Whittingham.

If you have any questions about this event, please contact Cathy Fisanich at [email protected] or 301-405-1795.