Richard A. Andersen

Richard Andersen at a lecture at University of Wyoming, unknown date

Professor of Chemistry

office: 537 Latimer Hall 
phone: (510) 642-4452

Research Interests

Synthetic structural, mechanistic organometallic, and inorganic chemistry of the d- and f-block metals is being studied and used to prepare molecules with unique stereochemistry and reactivity.

The Andersen research group is primarily interested in synthesis and reactions of molecules that alter the way chemists think. The traditional view of the f-block metals is that they do not form compounds with pi-backbonding ligands, such as CO. This classical view is no longer tenable since CO does bind to these metals, in their metallocene derivatives, with small but measurable bond enthalpies. A molecule that is somewhat similar to CO in its' ability ot act as a pi-acceptor ligand is bipyridyl. The f-block metallocene derivatives of this ligand is used to change the population of various electron-exchange tautomers, which in turn changes their equilibrium population. Thus, the chemical identity and reaction chemistry of each species can be studied. Studies such as these are defining new ways to look at f-element chemistry. New preparations of f-block metallocenes with pi-donors, such as oxo and imido ligands, make available these multiply bonded species for reactions chemistry which is important in oxidation chemistry.


  • Professor (born 1942)
  • B.A. University of South Dakota (1965)
  • Ph.D. University of Wyoming (1973)
  • Post-doctoral Fellow, Imperial College (London) with Professor G. Wilkinson (1974-76)
  • Member Chemical Society (London), ACS, Sigma Xi
  • Faculty Senior Scientist, Chemical Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist/Germany (1994)