Florida Tech will present 2005 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Professor Robert H. Grubbs, as the university’s 15th A. H. Blatt Seminar speaker. The lecture, hosted by Nasri Nesnas of the chemistry department, will take place Feb. 5, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., in the Gleason Performing Arts Center. Grubbs, trained as an organic chemist, is currently the Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry at California Institute of Technology.
Grubbs received the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, with Richard R. Schrock and Yves Chauvin, for his work in the field of olefin metathesis, which is simply the exchange of certain types of chemical groups known as double bonds (aka Olefin or alkene units). This chemical transformation, which can be thought of as the “magical chemical stitching” technique, is analogous to swing dancers holding both hands and later exchanging partners with a neighboring couple, facilitated by the dance instructor (the catalyst).
Professor A. Harold Blatt, who received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1926, was instrumental in establishing the chemistry department at Florida Tech. The A. H. Blatt Seminar, which honors Blatt’s contributions to chemistry and to Florida Tech, is sponsored by Organic Syntheses Inc. and University Professor Gordon L. Nelson.