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Dawson Lecture: Molecular Oxygen as a Reagent in Late Transition Metal Organometallic Chemistry

WT Young Library - UK Athletics Association Auditorium
Speaker(s) / Presenter(s):
Dr. Karen Goldberg, University of Pennsylvania


Abstract: From environmental and economic standpoints, molecular oxygen represents the ideal oxidant for chemical transformations. It is readily available, inexpensive (particularly if used without separation from air) and environmentally benign. However, more expensive and/or hazardous oxidants are often employed in homogeneous metal-catalyzed oxidation reactions. An insufficient knowledge of how transition metal complexes react with molecular oxygen has inhibited catalyst design of effective aerobic systems. Kinetic and mechanistic studies of the reactions of oxygen with various late metal complexes, including metal alkyls and hydrides, will be presented along with our nascent mechanistic understanding of these reactions. The generality of these aerobic oxidation reactions and the potential for incorporation into hydrocarbon functionalization strategies will be discussed.



Dr. Karen Goldberg
Vagelos Professor of Energy Research
University of Pennsylvania


Dr. Goldberg earned her A.B. from Barnard College, her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and performed postdoctoral studies at The Ohio State University, she joined the faculty at Illinois State University, a primarily undergraduate institution in 1989. In 1995, she moved to the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle and in 2010, became the Nicole A. Boand Endowed Professor in Chemistry at UW. From 2007-2017, Professor Goldberg served as Director of the first NSF Phase II Center for Chemical Innovation, the Center for Enabling New Technologies through Catalysis (CENTC), a collaborative effort between 18 principal investigators and their students at 14 institutions across North America. In 2017, she moved to her current position at Penn.

Professor Goldberg is best known for her work developing mechanistic understanding of fundamental organometallic reactions and for application of that knowledge to the creation and optimization of new catalytic systems. Her lab has made significant contributions to our understanding of the mechanisms of C-H, C-C and C-X reductive elimination and oxidative addition reactions, b-hydride elimination reactions and the insertion of molecular oxygen into metal-hydride and metal-carbon bonds. Professor Goldberg has been an invited speaker at conferences and universities around the world and has published over 125 papers. More than 60 graduate students and postdoctoral research associates and over 70 undergraduate students have trained in her laboratories.

Professor Goldberg has served on the Advisory Boards of various American Chemical Society (ACS) and Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) journals. She co-Chaired the 2012 Gordon Research Conference on Green Chemistry and served as Chair for the Chemistry Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2017. She currently serves as a member of the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology (BCST) at the National Academy of Sciences, as a member of the International Advisory Committee of the International Solvay Institutes, on the Scientific Advisory Boards of several NSF Research Centers, as a Councilor for the Division of Inorganic Chemistry at the ACS and as a member of the Board of Trustees of Barnard College.  Professor Goldberg received the 2015 Carol Tyler Award from the International Precious Metal Institute and the 2016 ACS Award for Organometallic Chemistry. She is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

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Department Host: Dr. Aron Huckaba

For more information about Dr. Lyle Dawson and the Dawson Lecture series, please visit this page

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