Dr. John Hartwig

"Influence and Opportunities for Catalysis" and “Attaching Fluorine to Aromatic Molecules. New Approaches and Challenges”

November 19, 2015

John F. Hartwig was born outside of Chicago in 1964 and was raised in upstate New York. He received a B.A. degree in 1986 from Princeton University, and a Ph.D. degree in 1990 from the University of California, Berkeley under the collaborative direction of Robert Bergman and Richard Andersen. After an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellowship with Stephen Lippard, he began an appointment at Yale University in 1992, where he was an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and then full Professor until 2004. In 2004, he was named the Irénée P. duPont Professor of Chemistry. In August of 2006, Professor Hartwig moved to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he was named the Kenneth L. Rinehart Jr. Professor of Chemistry. In August 2011, Professor Hartwig moved to his current position on the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is the Henry Rapoport Professor of Chemistry.

Professor Hartwig’s research focuses on the discovery and understanding of new reactions catalyzed by transition metal complexes. He has developed a selective catalytic functionalization of alkanes, a method for formation of arylamines and aryl ethers from aryl halides or sulfonates, a method for the direct conversion of carbonyl compounds to alpha-aryl carbonyl derivatives, a system for the catalytic addition of amines to vinylarenes and dienes, and highly selective catalysts for the regio and enantioselective amination of allylic carbonates. With each system, his group has conducted extensive mechanistic investigations. He has revealed several new classes of reductive eliminations, has isolated discrete compounds that functionalize alkanes, and has reported unusual three-coordinate arylpalladium complexes that are intermediates in cross coupling.


Thursday, November 19, 2015 at 3:30pm in Jesse Wrench Auditorium. Dr. Hartwig will present “Influence and Opportunities for Catalysis”at the 22nd Annual Loyd B. Thomas Chemistry Scholars Lecture. Hartwig Poster 1

From Prozac to perfume, sustainable plastics to solar energy, catalysis enables our current standard of living and controls our potential to progress sustainability. The reduced emissions of modern cars, the abundance of fresh food at our stores, the beginnings of green energy, and the new pharmaceuticals we use to treat disease are made possible by chemical reactions controlled by catalysts. But how well can we design a new catalyst or a needed catalytic reaction? If we could design fundamentally new catalytic reactions, then new approaches to the synthesis of organic molecules could be realized. The design of such catalysts and catalytic reactions is widely viewed as a grand challenge of synthetic chemistry.
Research in my group has sought to design catalysts that create an approach to chemical synthesis by conducting reactions at typically inert portions of organic molecules. Organic molecules contain clusters of atoms called “functional groups” where most chemical reactions occur. The sections of the molecules containing carbon-hydrogen (C-H) bonds are typically considered inert. We have discovered catalysts that create new chemical reactions that occur at these typically inert C-H bonds and, thereby, create new strategies for the construction of organic molecules and new methods to modify the composition of structurally complex organic molecules.
This lecture will discuss the principles by which these new catalysts are designed. Examples of important catalysts used today, and examples of catalysts developed through discovery and design in my own research laboratory will be described.

Friday, November 20, 2015 at 3:30pm in 103 Schlundt Hall; Dr. Hartwig will present “Attaching Fluorine to Aromatic Molecules. New Approaches and Challenges.” 

You are invited to attend a reception for Dr. Hartwig immediately following the colloquium in N214/15 Memorial Union.

Hartwig Poster 2