Professor Greg Robinson wins Lamar Dodd Creative Research Award
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Gregory H. Robinson, Franklin Professor of Chemistry, won this year's Lamar Dodd Creative Research Award for distinguished achievements in any area of the sciences. The award was presented at this year's 31st Annual University of Georgia Research Foundation Awards Banquet, which was held at the Athens Country Club on Thursday March 18. A movie featuring Greg and his research program was shown as one of the highlights of the evening.
Robinson is recognized worldwide as a leading scientist in the synthesis of unusual main group element chemical compounds. In 1995 he was the first to install a triple bond between two gallium atoms. More recently, his research group synthesized the first neutral compound containing a double bond between two boron atoms—the first diborene (L:(H)B=B(H):L)—by using stabilizing bases (L:). In 2008, his research team stunned the scientific community by discovering a new base-stabilized soluble allotrope of elemental silicon. In this compound (L:Si=Si:L) two silicon atoms, each in the highly reactive zero-oxidation state, are connected by a double bond. This achievement was hailed in top journals, including Science, the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Nature, and Chemical and Engineering News as “a major advance in low-valent, low coordinate main group chemistry” and one that “opens up new unprecedented possibilities in organometallic chemistry.” This technique of employing bases as stabilizing influences for otherwise fleeting molecules is widely considered a seminal development. The chemistry emanating from the Robinson research group has provided both a stimulus for main group element chemical research and textbook examples for new science. Not only does this chemistry challenge traditional theories of structure and bonding, but it also paves the way for new insights and applications into chemical processes and applications. Greg follows Professor Lou Allinger (1982) and Professor H. Fritz Schaefer (1995) as Chemistry recipients of the Lamar Dodd Creative Research Award.