Online Colloquium: “Metal Oxos in Chemistry and Biology” — March 11, 2021 at 4 PM
Dr. Harry Gray
Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry
Founding Director, Beckman Institute
Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
California Institute of Technology
Thursday, March 11, 2021, 4 PM EST
Via Video Conference (contact email@example.com for link information)
All interested persons are cordially invited to join the Zoom call.
The dianionic oxo ligand occupies a very special place in coordination chemistry, owing to its ability to donate pi electrons to stabilize high oxidation states of metals. The ligand field theory of multiple bonding in metal-oxos predicts that there must be an “oxo wall” between Fe-Ru-Os and Co-Rh-Ir in the periodic table. Metal-oxos on the left side of the wall are reactive intermediates in three of the most important chemical reactions on planet Earth: water oxidation to oxygen in green leaves; oxygen reduction to water in the respiratory chain; and hydrocarbon oxygenation catalyzed by an enzyme called cytochrome P450. I will focus on water oxidation to oxygen in my talk, as the reaction liberates the protons and electrons needed to make clean fuels and materials.
Dr. Gray received his B.S. in Chemistry from Western Kentucky University in 1957. He began his work in inorganic chemistry at Northwestern University, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1960 working under Fred Basolo and Ralph Pearson. He spent a year (1960–61) as an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Copenhagen, where, along with Walter A. Manch, he collaborated with Carl J. Ballhausen on studies of the electronic structures of metal complexes. After completing his NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Copenhagen, he relocated to New York City to take up a faculty appointment at Columbia University. He served as an assistant professor from 1961 to 1963 and as an associate professor from 1963 to 1965. In 1966, he became the Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry at California Institute of Technology, and founding director of the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.
Dr. Gray has published over 900 research papers and 18 books. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and 22 honorary doctorates. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the American Philosophical Society; a foreign member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters; the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences; the Royal Society of Great Britain; and the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. He served on the Council of the National Academy of Sciences (1986-1989) and on the Governing Board of the National Research Council (1986-1989). He was President of the Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry (2002-2004), Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Gordon Research Conferences (2000), and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation (2013-2015). He is Principal Investigator of the NSF CCI Solar Fuels Program and a Director of University Science Books.