Acclaimed UCLA Chemist to Lecture on Metal-Organic Frameworks

April 15, 2009

by Jaime Bates, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

Dr. Omar M. Yaghi, internationally acclaimed scientist and professor at UCLA, will give two lectures as part of the Gooch-Stephens Lecture Series on April 16 and 17.

Yaghi's first lecture on "Reticular Chemistry: Where Geometry Becomes Beautifully Real and Useful" will be held at 8 p.m., Thursday, April 16, in room B110 of the Baylor Science Building. The second lecture on "Docking in Metal-Organic Frameworks" will be held at 4 p.m. the following day, April 17.

Yaghi's first lecture will explore reticular chemistry, when geometric building units of molecules are stitched together by strong bonds into large extended networks, called metal-organic frameworks. Those frameworks are becoming increasingly important due to their effectiveness at storing fuel gases, such as hydrogen and natural gas. This lecture will discuss how chemistry and geometry play a role in clean energy.

The second lecture will expand on the topic of Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). MOFS are constructed from metal oxide joints and organic struts to form highly porous crystals. This lecture will discuss how the thermal and chemical stability of certain MOFs allow for organic transformation to be carried out on macroscopic crystals, thus making the concept of "crystals as molecules" a reality.

Yaghi, a native of Amman, Jordan, is the Jean Stone Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Reticular Chemistry at the Nanosystems Institute at UCLA. After receiving his undergraduate work at the State University of New York, Yaghi went to the University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign campus to work on his doctorate. under the mentorship of Walter Klemperer. Upon completing his doctorate, Yaghi was awarded a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard with Professor Richard Holm. He then received faculty appointment at Arizona State and the University of Michigan before he took his current position at UCLA.

Yaghi is known internationally for his theory, design and synthesis of new materials. He has invented new materials called metal-organic frameworks and covalent organic frameworks. These materials, which have the highest surface areas and the lowest densities known to date, are extremely applicable to clean energy technologies.

Yaghi has received several awards for his work, including the Solid-state Chemistry Award from the American Chemical Society and Exxon in 1998, the Sacconi Medal from the Italian Chemical Society in 1999, the United Stated Department of Energy Hydrogen Program Award in 2007 and the 2008 American Chemical Society's Award for the Chemistry of Materials.

"Attendees will be enlightened and benefit from the vast knowledge that they will receive during these lectures," said Barbara Rauls, administrative assistant for the Baylor chemistry and biochemistry department. "Students will have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with this renowned lecturer."

The Gooch-Stephens Lecture is held annually in recognition of the contributions of two former chemistry professors of chemistry and department chairmen at Baylor, Dr. W.T. Gooch and Dr. W.R. Stephens.

For more information on the lecture, contact the Baylor department of chemistry and biochemistry at (254) 710-3311.

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