Upcycling: Turning plastic bags into adhesives

December 18, 2020

Large pile of plastic in a dump

While plastic bags clog the waste stream, recycling them isn’t financially attractive, since they’re usually turned into very low-value products. If polyethylene packaging could be processed into high-value products, more of them would be recycled instead of ending up in landfills. (photo: Adobe Stock)

Scientists finally crack nature’s most common chemical bond

May 26, 2020

cracking the hydrocarbon bond

The most common chemical bond in the living world — that between carbon and hydrogen — has long resisted attempts by chemists to crack it open, thwarting efforts to add new bells and whistles to old carbon-based molecules. Now, after nearly 25 years of work by chemists at the University of California, Berkeley, those hydrocarbon bonds — two-thirds of all the chemical bonds in petroleum and plastics — have fully yielded.

Catalyst breaks only molecules’ toughest C–H bonds

May 19, 2020


In new research reported in Nature, an international team of chemical engineers have designed a material that can capture carbon dioxide from wet flue gasses better than current commercial materials. One way to ameliorate the polluting impact of flue gases is to take the CO2 out of them and store it in geological formations or recycle it; there is, in fact, an enormous amount of research trying to find novel materials that can capture CO2 from these flue gasses.

The power of change in science

March 9, 2020

women trailblazers

Guided by CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna, a formidable entrepreneur in her own right, C&EN profiled 15 women working in the Chemical industry in academics and startups in C&EN's 2020 Trailblazers. Four of them are affiliated with UC Berkeley's College of Chemistry. They have collectively launched more than 30 start-ups aimed at developing treatments for rare diseases, building better batteries, and more. They’re chemical scientists at the top of their game. They’re role models building and mentoring teams. And yes, they’re badasses. They live by the motto “Nobody ever got anywhere by listening to no.”

11 Catalysis Chemistry Pioneers Every Researcher Should Know About

February 3, 2020

Catalysis Pioneers

Alexis Bell, The Dow Professor of Sustainable Chemistry at Berkeley and Frances Arnold, Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry, and an alumna of the College were both cited on the list of catalysis pioneers listed in the ACS publication ACS Axial.

Peidong Yang's lab awarded CO2 challenge grant from NASA

May 22, 2019

A team of researchers from the lab of Peidong Yang have received a phase one grant for their project to develop an integrated system to synthesize sugars from CO2. NASA is preparing to land humans on the Moon in 2024, the agency is keeping a keen eye on technologies needed for Mars missions that will follow. New technologies will be needed to sustain human life as we move out into the stars.

Professor John Hartwig awarded the 2019 Wolf Prize in Chemistry

January 16, 2019

professors John Hartwig and Stephen Buchwal awarded 2019 Wolf PrizeIt was announced today that the 2019 Wolf Prize for Chemistry has been awarded to professors John F. Hartwig from University of California at Berkeley and Stephen L. Buchwald from MIT, for the development of efficient transition-metal catalysts that have revolutionized drug manufacturing, leading to breakthrough in molecule and synthetics design.

Enrique Iglesia receives 2018 AIChE William H. Walker Award

September 6, 2018

Enrique IglesiaUC Berkeley Faculty member Enrique Iglesia, Theodore Vermeulen Chair Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, has been awarded the 2018 William H. Walker Award for Excellence in Contributions to Chemical Engineering Literature from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).