Lexington, Mass., chemist wins national award for techniques to make new molecules

August 22, 2003

Dietmar Seyferth of Lexington, Mass., will be honored Sept. 9 by the world's largest scientific society for exploring new ways to make the building blocks of everyday materials. He will receive the 2003 Arthur C. Cope Senior Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society at its national meeting in New York.

Seyferth has spent five decades studying compounds that contain both carbon -- the major component of organic materials from proteins to petroleum -- and atoms of reactive metals. These unique combinations ultimately become plastics, pharmaceuticals and other products.

"We use organometallic compounds as carriers, transferring organic groups attached with the carbon-metal bond to synthesize molecules that often can't be achieved in other ways," said Seyferth, who is professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His discoveries range from a method to make vinyllithium, which chemists can use to make complicated compounds such as drugs, to acyllithiums, the building blocks for adhesives, paint additives and many other materials.

Seyferth's influence extends beyond his research. From 1963 to 1981, he was regional editor of the Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, and in 1982, he became the founding editor of the ACS journal Organometallics, which quickly became the leading journal in the field. He describes his role as the "gatekeeper of organometallics," a pivotal figure who sets research standards for the field and ensures that the work of his colleagues meet them.

The chemist has left active research and now devotes his full time to the journals. "My fun activity now is writing historical essays and publishing them in Organometallics," he said.

A native of Germany who moved to the United States with his family at age four, Seyferth is a third-generation chemist. "So when it came time to decide what to do, I was interested in a lot of things -- Freud and Jung had made psychology very big -- but chemistry seemed natural," he said.

Seyferth received his undergraduate degree from the University of Buffalo in 1951 and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1955. He is a member of the ACS division of inorganic chemistry.

The ACS Board of Directors established the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Awards in 1984 to recognize and encourage excellence in organic chemistry. Cope himself was a celebrated organic chemist and ACS president. Each award consists of a $5,000 prize as well as an unrestricted research grant of $40,000.
-end-


American Chemical Society

Related Chemistry Articles from Brightsurf:

Searching for the chemistry of life
In the search for the chemical origins of life, researchers have found a possible alternative path for the emergence of the characteristic DNA pattern: According to the experiments, the characteristic DNA base pairs can form by dry heating, without water or other solvents.

Sustainable chemistry at the quantum level
University of Pittsburgh Associate Professor John A. Keith is using new quantum chemistry computing procedures to categorize hypothetical electrocatalysts that are ''too slow'' or ''too expensive'', far more thoroughly and quickly than was considered possible a few years ago.

Can ionic liquids transform chemistry?
Table salt is a commonplace ingredient in the kitchen, but a different kind of salt is at the forefront of chemistry innovation.

Principles for a green chemistry future
A team led by researchers from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies recently authored a paper featured in Science that outlines how green chemistry is essential for a sustainable future.

Sugar changes the chemistry of your brain
The idea of food addiction is a very controversial topic among scientists.

Reflecting on the year in chemistry
A lot can happen in a year, especially when it comes to science.

Better chemistry through tiny antennae
A research team at The University of Tokyo has developed a new method for actively controlling the breaking of chemical bonds by shining infrared lasers on tiny antennae.

Chemistry in motion
For the first time, researchers have managed to view previously inaccessible details of certain chemical processes.

Researchers enrich silver chemistry
Researchers from Russia and Saudi Arabia have proposed an efficient method for obtaining fundamental data necessary for understanding chemical and physical processes involving substances in the gaseous state.

The chemistry behind kibble (video)
Have you ever thought about how strange it is that dogs eat these dry, weird-smelling bits of food for their entire lives and never get sick of them?

Read More: Chemistry News and Chemistry Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.