Contributed by Karolina Mellor, Ph.D., Program Coordinator, Yale Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering
The development of green chemistry was made possible because of the individuals in academia, industry, government and NGOs who dared to dream big and followed through by devoting their professional life to advancing and promoting the new discipline. Through their continuous work—from innovative research to awareness raising and advocacy—these individuals impacted and shaped green chemistry science and education.
Many of the early green chemistry innovators’ roots trace back to the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB). Four notable green chemistry leaders, Drs. John Warner, Amy Cannon, Nicholas Anastas and Buzz Cue were students at the University. UMB was not only place where they developed everlasting friendships, but more importantly, it was where they developed their passion for science.
On September 18, 2016, these green chemistry pioneers participated in an event at their Alma matter in celebration of 25 years since green chemistry emerged. The event was co-organized by Dr. Wei Zhang, director of the Center for Green Chemistry at UMB.
The event started with a warm welcome from Winston Langley, UMB Provost, Zong-Guo Xia, UMB Vice Provost for Research & Strategic Initiatives, and Robert Carter, UMB Chemistry Department Chair. The welcome remarks were followed with talks by UMB distinguished alumni, who reflected on their career paths in green chemistry, and their recent work. John Warner talked about green chemistry and entropy relationships and how this concept drives his work at the Warner and Babcock Institute. Buzz Cue presented his work at Pfizer to develop greener processes to produce Zoloft an antidepressant and selective serotonin inhibitor. Nick Anastas and Amy Cannon focused on a variety of educational opportunities to incorporate green chemistry and toxicology concepts into the modern school curriculum and chemistry community. This event appropriately acknowledged the work of the early green chemists who dared to be different and worked to advance green chemistry in its infant stages.
The author would like to thank Drs. Wei Zhang, Buzz Cue, Phillip Coish and Paul Anastas for their contributions to this article.
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