Organic Chemistry

Microbes provide sustainable hydrocarbons for petrochemical industry

November 24, 2021

sustainable polymers

Researchers from UC Berkeley and the NSF Center for Sustainable Polymers have developed a chemical technology that combines fermentation and chemical refining (center panels) to produce petroleum-like liquids (right) from renewable plants (left). (Image by John Beumer, courtesy of NSF Center for Sustainable Polymers)

If the petrochemical industry is...

Campus professor Richmond Sarpong receives 2021 Edward Leete Award

September 21, 2021

Richmond SarpongRichmond Sarpong from the College of Chemistry received the 2021 Edward Leete Award on Thursday for his research and teachings within the field of organic chemistry.

The Edward Leete Award acknowledges exceptional teaching and research contributions in the field of organic chemistry, according to the American Chemical Society, or ACS, website. The award is...

Richmond Sarpong receives ACS Edward Leete Award for 2021

September 16, 2021

Richmond Sarpong

The College of Chemistry is delighted to announce that Professor of Chemistry Richmond Sarpong has been announced as the 2021 Edward Leete awardee from the Division of Organic...

John Hartwig receives the Arthur C. Cope Award

January 13, 2021

John Hartwig

John Hartwig, Henry Rapoport Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, has been awarded the 2021 ACS Arthur C. Cope Award for the discovery, development, and mechanistic...

Road to chiral alkylamines paved with iridium

November 12, 2020

Iridium reaction

Alkylamines are one of the most useful compounds in a chemist’s bag of tricks. Pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, and polymers often contain these functional groups. Ideally, chemists would like to make alkylamines from widely available feedstocks, but the existing methods for doing so don’t excel at reacting with internal alkenes....

Holy grails: seeking out selective C–H activation

October 1, 2020

Demonstration of complexity of C-H targets

The sheer number of C–H bonds in the precursor to the antibiotic erythromycin shows just how tricky a task it is to target a single one. The oxidation of a single C–H bond (red) makes erythromycin six times more biologically active than its precursor 6-deoxy erythromycin A – this chemical feat...

Meet our faculty: Robert Bergman

December 10, 2019

Robert Bergman

On the first day of graduate school, I went to my physical organic chemistry class feeling nervous and intimidated. The class was taught by Bob Bergman, a chemist whose extensive scientific record and research contributions I had learned about as an undergraduate. Many professors who excel at research are, unfortunately, not good teachers, so I had no idea what to expect. In his first lecture, Bergman played a movie of his young granddaughter experimenting with a saltshaker, and he explained how excited children are about figuring out how things work.

What happens when your discovery becomes personal?

August 22, 2019

Richmond Sarpong

Until this year Robert Harris and Robert Bergman have been esteemed colleagues at the College. Recently however, when they were at an event discussing an interview Bergman had done with Professor William Lester, they made a very interesting personal discovery. Their lives had more than crossed as children living in Chicago’s Hyde Park. In fact, they had lived about 100 yards from each other across an alleyway.

John Hartwig: The 2019 Wolf Prize and the importance of fundamental research in the discovery of synthetic catalysts

March 9, 2019

John Hartwig In a press release issued in January by the Wolf Foundation in Israel, it was announced that Professors John Hartwig and Stephen Buchwald (MIT) had been jointly awarded the 2019 Wolf Prize in Chemistry for independently harnessing cross coupling for the making of carbon-heteroatom bonds. The Foundation noted, “These bonds and especially the carbon-nitrogen bonds are immensely important, because such bonds constitute a very basis of medicinal chemistry."

Chem alum struggled with learning disability to achieve genius

December 7, 2018

Richard HoughtenAt this year's induction ceremony for the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame, Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies founder Richard Houghten and optometry pioneer Herbert Wertheim — two individuals of unquestionable genius — shared a surprising fact about themselves: Growing up, they each struggled with severe learning challenges that easily could have sent them on a different path.