AAASE Inaugural Distinguished Lecture

May 4 (Wed), 2022 

YouTube Video 

Development of Sustainable Catalysts 

 Speaker: Professor David MacMillan 

Princeton University, Nobel Laureate


Catalysis impacts nearly every aspect of the modern world. Today, 90% of industrial-scale chemical reactions employ catalysis, and 35% of the world’s GDP is based on catalytic processes. These processes are essential in producing many of modern society’s staples, including food, medicines, solar cells, diagnostic tools, and even polymers and materials. Over the next century, catalysis will provide solutions to many pressing societal challenges, such as alternative energy, environmental remediation, inexpensive pharmaceuticals, sustainable agriculture, and renewable soft materials. As such, the development of efficient, environmentally-friendly catalysts will be key to the common goal of creating a more sustainable future. This lecture will describe efforts in the MacMillan laboratory to invent powerful and sustainable catalyst platforms. We will first discuss the advent and development of asymmetric organocatalysis in the MacMillan group. Last, we will look to the future and consider how organocatalysis and other sustainable approaches—including photocatalysis, electrocatalysis, and biocatalysis—will continue to impact scientific research and society.

Opening remark: Congressman Andy Kim, New Jersey's Third District

Moderator: Dr. Faye Su, Global Biomarker and Diagnostic Director, Novartis

Co-Sponsors: Princeton University Asian-American Students Association (AASA), Asian American Scholar Forum (AASF), Association of Chinese Americans in Cancer Research (ACACR), American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Catalysis and Reaction Engineering division, Sino-American Pharmaceutical Professionals Association New England Chapter (SAPA-NE); The Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America (SCBA)