Robert H. Grubbs, 79, dies; Breakthrough in chemistry led to a Nobel Prize

Enrolled in the University of Florida, he majored in agricultural chemistry, combining his interest in science, developed in college, and...


Enrolled in the University of Florida, he majored in agricultural chemistry, combining his interest in science, developed in college, and his childhood passion for agriculture.

One summer, while working in an animal nutrition lab to analyze steer droppings, he was invited by a friend to work in an organic chemistry lab run by a new faculty member at the university, Merle. Battiste. Around this time, Dr. Grubbs was absorbed by a book called “Mechanisms and Structure in Organic Chemistry” by ES Gould, which explained how chemical reactions work. His lab experience and the book persuaded him to devote himself to chemistry, he said.

It was a lecture given at the university by Rowland Pettit, an Australian chemist, that inspired Dr Grubbs to start studying the use of metals in organic chemistry, an exploratory work that would lead to the Nobel Prize.

After earning his undergraduate and masters degrees from the University of Florida, he moved to Columbia University in New York for his doctorate, working under Ronald breslow. Dr Battiste had been Dr Breslow’s first doctorate. raised. While in Columbia, Dr. Grubbs met and married Helen O’Kane, a speech therapist from Brooklyn.

He got his doctorate. in 1968, then worked for a year at Stanford University as a member of the National Institutes of Health. In 1969, he joined the faculty of Michigan State University and worked there until 1978. During this time, he began his research on catalysts in metathesis.

Dr Grubbs was hired by the California Institute of Technology in 1978 and worked there until his death, advising and mentoring over 100 doctoral students. candidates and nearly 200 postdoctoral associates during their years.

In 1998, he and a postdoctoral fellow in chemistry, Mike Giardello, founded Materia, a Pasadena-based tech company that owns the exclusive rights to manufacture Dr Grubbs’ catalysts. The company was sold in 2017 to Umicore and then to ExxonMobil this year.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Robert H. Grubbs, 79, dies; Breakthrough in chemistry led to a Nobel Prize
Robert H. Grubbs, 79, dies; Breakthrough in chemistry led to a Nobel Prize
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