Carnegie Mellon University Department of Chemistry

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Carnegie Mellon Chemistry Professor Terry Collins Receives Award from American Chemical Society

PITTSBURGH--Terry Collins, Thomas Lord Professor of Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University, has received the 2004 Pittsburgh Award from the American Chemical Society’s Pittsburgh Section. The award “recognizes contributions toward increasing chemical knowledge, promoting industry, benefiting humanity or advancing the Pittsburgh Section.” Collins is noted for his scientific contributions to green chemistry, his dedication to education and his public advocacy for use of green chemistry to achieve a sustainable civilization.

“The list of past winners is filled with extremely distinguished names, and adding Terry’s to that list is a recognition of his substantial accomplishments and international leadership in green chemistry, which brings credit to Pittsburgh and the American Chemical Society,” said Neil Donahue, Chair-elect of the American Chemical Society, Pittsburgh Section and assistant professor of chemistry and chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon.

Head of the Institute for Green Oxidation Chemistry at the Mellon College of Science, Collins is credited with creating a new class of oxidation catalysts with the potential for enormous, positive impact on the environment. These catalysts, called tetra-amido macrocyclic ligand (Fe-TAML®) activators, are the result of decades of Collins’s work to develop green, or environmentally friendly, processes for industry.

Experts worldwide believe that these systems can be used effectively to replace chlorine-based oxidants in large global technologies so that some of society’s most toxic chlorinated residuals are not produced. The activators can be used for pulp bleaching in the pulp and paper industry, for removal of textile dyeing mill pollutants, for the easy destruction of dangerous pollutants including pesticides and chemical and biological warfare agents, for removing sulfur from fuels, and for use in products as commonplace as laundry detergent. The catalysts also have broad potential to address unsolved environmental problems and health issues associated with water purification.

Collins and his research team have been awarded several U.S. and foreign patents covering the composition of Fe-TAML catalysts and their methods of use in a wide number of applications. Dozens of international companies are collaborating with Collins on this endeavor.

Collins has been recognized worldwide by professional organizations, educational institutions and industry. His honors include the Environmental Protection Agency’s 1999 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award and Japan’s Society of Pure and Applied Coordination Chemistry Award. He is an honorary professor at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, a fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the World Innovation Institute, and a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar. He was the U.S. representative at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Workshop on the Funding of Sustainable Chemistry that took place in Tokyo in 2000, and he has served on numerous green chemistry research and funding evaluation panels. In 2002, he became a member of the ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement.

Dedicated to educating others about green chemistry and environmental issues, Collins has delivered more than 150 lectures at conferences and colloquia worldwide since just 2000. While at Carnegie Mellon in 1992, he launched what is arguably the first course on green chemistry offered at any university, and he led the ACS-PRF Pan-American Green Chemistry Summer School for graduate students and post-doctoral scholars in 2004.

Collins is the associate editor for the Americas of the Royal Society of Chemistry journal, Green Chemistry, as well as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Chemical and Engineering News. He is also a co-chair of the Annual Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference and the counselor for the Green Chemistry Gordon Conference.

Collins earned his undergraduate degree in 1974 and his doctoral degree in 1978, both from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He completed postdoctoral work at Stanford and was a member of the faculty of the California Institute of Technology before coming to Carnegie Mellon in 1987.

September 21, 2004