Chemistry and Biochemistry

Robert H. Grubbs Biography


Robert H. Grubbs was born near Possum Trot, Kentucky and studied Chemistry at the University of Florida, Gainesville (B.S. and M.S.) and Columbia University, New York, where he obained his Ph.D. under Ronald Breslow in 1968. Following a one-year NIH postdoctoral fellowship with James Collman at Stanford University he was appointed to the faculty of Michigan State University. In 1978 he moved to California Institute of Technology where he is presently Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry. His research interests involve the design, synthesis, and mechanistic studies of complexes that catalyze useful organic transformations. In recent years the major focus of his group has been on the development of catalysts for the olefin metathesis reaction that are extremely tolerant of organic functional groups, and their use in the ring opening polymerization of cyclic olefins to yield polymers with useful mechanical, electronic or optcal properties. These catalysts are also widely use in organic synthesis and the "Grubbs catalyst" is even commercially available. Professor Grubbs's many awards have included Alfred P. Sloan Fellow (1974-76), Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (1975-78), Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (1975), ACS National Award in Organometallic Chemistry (1988), Arthur C. Cope Scholar (1990), ACS Award in polymer Chemistry (1995), Nagoya Medal of Organic Chemistry (1997), Fluka Reagent of the Year (1998), Mack Memorial Award (1999), Benjamin Franklin Medal in Chemistry (2000), ACS Herman F. Mark Polymer Chemistry Award (2000) and ACS Herbert C. Brown Award for Creative Research in Synthetic Methods (2001). He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1989 and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994.