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Gibbs Award Dinner
Friday, May 14, 2010


Gibbs Medal Awardee:
Prof. Maurice Brookhart
Professor Brookhart

William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“Alkane Metathesis: A Route to Tomorrow’s Fuels?”

Date:  Friday, May 14, 2010
Location:    Casa Royale
783 Lee Street
Des Plaines, IL

Cost for the dinner:  $40 per person, $20 for students, unemployed and retirees.

Dinner reservations are required and should be received in the Section Office via phone (847-391-9091), email (, or web by noon on Wednesday, May 12.   PLEASE HONOR YOUR RESERVATIONS.  The Section must pay for all food orders.  No-shows will be billed.  Seating will be available for those who wish to attend only the meeting.

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6:00 PM  Social Hour with hors d'œuvres and 2 complimentary drinks
7:00 PM Dinner
8:30 PM ACS Event Introduction
8:45 PM Gibbs Award Lecture

Gibbs Medal, front side

The History of the Willard Gibbs Award

Gibbs Medal, back side

The Citation:

For principal achievements in synthetic and mechanistic organometallic chemistry with particular emphasis on the application of organometallic complexes in catalysis.

Introducing Professor Brookhart:  Tobin Marks, Northwestern University

Presentation of the medal:  Joseph S. Francisco, President, American Chemical Society

Gibbs Acceptance Address: “Alkane Metathesis: A Route to Tomorrow’s Fuels?”


There are now numerous transition metal-based systems known that will activate carbon-hydrogen bonds of alkanes via oxidative addition reactions. Only a few such reactions have been incorporated into viable, efficient catalytic cycles. This presentation will focus on the use of pincer iridium complexes in catalytic transformations in which C-H bond activation is the key step. These processes will include: 1. intermolecular hydrogen transfer reactions as a method for introducing carbon-carbon double bonds into alkanes and 2. coupling such reactions with alkene metathesis which provides a method for converting linear alkanes to alkanes of higher and lower carbon number. This alkane metathesis reaction can potentially be used for converting alkanes generated via the Fischer-Tropsch process to alkanes in the diesel range, thus providing increased efficiency for producing transportation fuels from coal and biomass. Homogeneous and supported catalysts will be described and mechanistic aspects of these processes will be highlighted.


Maurice Brookhart (b. 1942) grew up in the mountains of western Maryland and attended Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where he received an A.B. degree in chemistry in 1964. He carried out his doctoral work in physical organic chemistry at UCLA under the direction of Saul Winstein. After finishing the Ph.D. degree in 1968, he spent six months as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at UCLA with Winstein and Frank Anet, followed by a year of study at Southampton University as a NATO postdoctoral fellow. Brookhart joined the University of North Carolina faculty in 1969 and is currently a William R. Kenan, Jr. professor of chemistry. He has spent research leaves at Univ. of Rennes (1981), Oxford (1982-83), UC-Berkeley, (Fall, 1996), Seville (Spring, 1997), University of Marburg (Spring, 2001) and the Max Planck Institute, Muelheim (Spring, 2003). Brookhart served as associate editor of Organometallics (1990-96) and received the 1992 American Chemical Society(ACS) Award in Organometallic Chemistry, a 1994 ACS Cope Scholar Award and the 2003 ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2001 and received the North Carolina Award in Science in 2008.

Brookhart’s research interests span mechanistic, synthetic, and structural organometallic chemistry. Most recently efforts have focused on the development and mechanistic understanding of late transition metal complexes for olefin polymerizations and employing carbon-hydrogen bond activation processes in catalytic transformations of small molecules.


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Parking:  Free



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