Gregory H. Robinson
Lamar Dodd Award 2010
Gregory H. Robinson, Franklin Professor of Chemistry, is recognized worldwide as a leading scientist in the synthesis of unusual main group element chemical compounds. In 1995, he was the first to install a triple bond between two gallium atoms. More recently, his research group synthesized the first neutral compound containing a double bond between two boron atoms-the first diborene-by using stabilizing bases. In 2008, his research team stunned the scientific community by discovering a new base-stabilized soluble allotrope of elemental silicon. In this compound, two silicon atoms, each in the highly reactive zero-oxidation state, are connected by a double bond. This achievement was hailed in top journals, including Science, the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Nature, and Chemical and Engineering News as “a major advance in low-valent, low coordinate main group chemistry” and one that “opens up new unprecedented possibilities in organometallic chemistry.” This technique of employing bases as stabilizing influences for otherwise fleeting molecules is widely considered a seminal discovery. The work of Robinson’s group has provided both a stimulus for main group element chemical research and textbook examples for new science. Not only does this work challenge traditional theories of structure and bonding, but it also paves the way for new insights and applications into chemical processes and applications.
Distinguished Research Professor 2000