Winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, Professor Robert Grubbs, will give a public talk next week on the translation of fundamental science into useful products.
Discoveries by Professor Grubbs, of the California Institute of Technology, have enabled industry to produce plastics and drugs more efficiently and with less hazardous waste.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on a chemical reaction called metathesis – where carbon atom groups change places.
While the reaction was first described in 1971, Professor Grubbs developed a catalyst that improved this reaction, and was stable in air, making this process more available to industry.
It is now used daily in the production of pharmaceuticals and advanced plastic materials.
Professor Grubbs, who was a keynote speaker at the RACI Centenary Chemistry Congress in Melbourne this week, has also developed a method to drastically reduce the sulphur content in diesel fuel more simply and cheaply.
Reducing the sulphur content in diesel will significantly reduce acid rain – which occurs when the diesel is burned and the sulphur turns into sulphur dioxide, which reacts with water to form acid rain.
What: Public lecture by Professor Robert Grubbs
When: Monday 31 July, 17:00 – 18:00
Where: Science Theatre, UNSW Kensington campus
Host: UNSW Science