Inaugural lecture: Molecular Alchemy – Catalysis as the Applied Philosopher’s Stone

Duncan will be giving his inaugural lecture as Professor of Catalysis on 8th May at 18.00 in Lecture theatre 1 of the School of Chemistry.  A drinks reception will follow.  All are welcome.

Molecular Alchemy – Catalysis as the Applied Philosopher’s Stone

Catalysis is the chemist’s foremost tool in transforming simple molecules into more complex and valuable chemical products. The role of catalysts as the agent for this transformation finds a metaphor in the mythical Philosopher’s Stone – the substance by which alchemists believed base metals would be turned into gold.Whilst the Philosopher’s Stone is a fantasy, catalysis with its ability to efficiently and selectively transform molecules, is the applied technology at the heart of virtually all petrochemical processes. But its utility is now reaching beyond petrochemicals as a key component of a low-carbon future. This lecture will describe recent work in which catalysts are allowing us to make advances that range from greener petrochemical processes, to the manufacture of next generation biofuels, to self-healing aeroplane wings.