08 Apr 2024
17:00  - 18:30

Large Lecture Hall, Organic Chemistry, St. Johanns-Ring 19, 4056 Basel

Department of Chemistry (CS)

Catalysis: A Frontier at the Center of Chemistry (Camille & Henry Dreyfus Lecture)

Prof. Dr. Eric N. Jacobsen (Harvard University, USA)

In the minds of chemists at least, there is no doubt that many of the most pressing challenges facing humanity – such as health, the environment, and energy – will have to be addressed using chemistry. Catalysis lies at the heart of nearly every challenge in modern chemistry, cutting across all of its subdisciplines and connecting to fields as diverse as biology, materials science, and engineering. However, chemists’ ability to design new catalysts for intended purposes remains quite primitive, typically relying on small incremental advances or serendipitous discoveries. In this lecture, I will present an organic chemist’s perspective on the field of catalysis, touching on some of the specific challenges my group has sought to address. In particular, I will explore the relationship between enzymatic and small-molecule catalysis, focusing on my own group’s efforts to draw lessons from biological systems to design effective and broadly useful synthetic catalysts.

Camille & Henry Dreyfus Lectureship
In memory of the Dreyfus brothers, the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Inc. has established the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Lectureship at the University of Basel. The annual Lectureship brings a leading chemist from the United States to the Basel campus to deliver a series of talks, and to meet with faculty and students in order to enhance the relationship between Swiss and U.S. science.

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