October 12, 2012, by Graham Kendall

Royal Society Rutherford Lecture

We have now received the abstract for Professor Martyn Polliakoff’s Rutherford Lecture.

Engineering a Better World through Green Chemistry

The world is changing; the population is increasing, consumption is increasing and globally we are better interconnected than ever before. However, 1.3 billion people remain profoundly poor and scientists across the world need to find more efficient ways of providing for these people. Green Chemistry is ca. 20 years old and offers a way to increase global access to chemicals and to do so more efficiently. Green Chemistry aims to find cleaner ways for making chemicals and materials, particularly by reducing the hazard associated with the processes and applications. This lecture will illustrate how a combination of chemistry and engineering can be used to achieve this aim. It describes recent work in Nottingham where we have set up DICE (Driving Innovation in Chemistry & Engineering) a partnership between chemistry and chemical engineering across the university. The lecture will include a some examples of work, including the use of supercritical fluids (gases compressed until they are nearly as dense as liquids) as a replacement for environmentally less acceptable solvents in organic reactions. The lecture will also mention how we have harnessed YouTube to spread the message of chemistry across the world.

For a recent discussion of the subject of population and consumption, see http://royalsociety.org/policy/projects/people-planet/

For a general introduction to Green Chemistry, see a)M. Poliakoff, P. Licence, Nature 2007, 450, 810; b)S. L. Y. Tang, R. A. Bourne, M. Poliakoff, R. L. Smith, Green Chemistry 2008, 10, 268

For more about the YouTube project see B. Haran, M. Poliakoff, Science, 2011, 332, 1046 and www.periodicvideos.com and www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVIirDe50m8&feature

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