UW News

February 23, 2011

2010 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, Ei-ichi Negishi, speaks this week at UW

UW News

On Friday, the UW will host a lecture by Ei-ichi Negishi, a 2010 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry and professor of chemistry at Purdue University.

The free lecture will take place Friday, Feb. 25, at 1:30 p.m. in 210 Kane. A reception will follow in the Walker-Ames Room.

Ei-ichi Negishi

Ei-ichi Negishi

Negishi is in Seattle to attend the Asian American Engineer of the Year conference, which takes place Feb. 25-26. During his visit to the UW, Negishi will meet with Interim President Phyllis Wise and will attend a lunch with faculty from Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and other departments.

Negishi pioneered work in catalyzing organic reactions. He helped develop a new type of metal-based reaction, called palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling, that allows for easy and efficient synthesis of complex organic compounds. By creating a more precise method for coupling two carbon groups, he created a powerful tool for synthesizing a broad range of chemicals now used in medicine, agriculture, and electronics.

These methods are now widely used in industry and research in a variety of applications, including pharmaceutical antibiotics that work on drug resistant bacteria; agricultural chemicals that protect crops from fungi; and electronic light-emitting diodes used in the production of extremely thin monitors.

Negishi shared the Nobel Prize with Richard Heck of the University of Delaware and Akira Suzuki of Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan.

The UW talk, “Magical Power of d-Block Transition Metals: Past, Present, and Future,” will explore the role of 24 metals in the “d” block of the periodic table, whose atoms have an outer electron in the d orbital. Palladium, the focus of the Nobel work, is one of these elements.

Until fairly recently these metals have been mainly used as tools, containers, for precious and ornamental items, and for electromagnetic applications. Over the past several decades, however, chemists have increasingly recognized their potential use for catalyzing reactions.

This lecture will discuss the chemical basis for these properties, especially in forming and breaking carbon bonds. It will also explore the possibility for more catalytic reactions that involve this group of elements.

Negishi graduated from University of Tokyo in 1958 with a bachelors degree in chemistry, and earned his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania in 1963. He taught at Syracuse University during the 1970s before joining Purdue University, where he is currently H.C. Brown Distinguished Professor. In 2010 he also was awarded the Japanese Order of Culture and the American Chemistry Societys Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry.

Negishis UW visit is being hosted by mechanical engineering professor Minoru Taya. His lecture is sponsored by the UW College of Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering.