Abstract: Society depends on polymeric materials more now than at any other time in history. Although synthetic polymers are indispensable in a diverse array of applications, ranging from commodity packaging and structural materials to technologically complex biomedical and electronic devices, their synthesis and disposal pose important environmental challenges. The focus of our research is the development of sustainable routes to polymers that have reduced environmental impact. This lecture will focus on our research to transition from fossil fuels to renewable resources for polymer synthesis, as well as the development of polymeric materials designed to bring positive benefits to the environment.
Geoffrey W. Coates received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry with Robert Waymouth at Stanford University in 1994, and was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow with Robert Grubbs at the California Institute of Technology. He joined the Cornell University faculty in 1997, where he is now the Tisch University Professor. Professor Coates has received many awards, including the A. C. Cope Scholar Award, ACS Awards in Affordable Green Chemistry and Applied Polymer Science, and the Carl S. Marvel Creative Polymer Chemistry Award. In 2011 he was identified by Thomson Reuters as one of the world’s top 100 chemists on the basis of the impact of his scientific research, and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. In 2017, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He is the scientific cofounder of Novomer and Ecolectro, and is an Associate Editor of Macromolecules.