Posted on September 29, 2011
Faculty and Staff
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The first ever formal lectures held in the newly completed Mathematics and Science Center featured two innovators in the field of green chemistry, one of whom literally wrote the book on the topic.
Guest speaker for the College of Science and Math Seminar Series (sponsored by Dean Arthur Goldstein
) was Dr. John Warner
, who is widely considered the father of green chemistry.
In 1998, Dr. Warner and fellow Quincy native Paul Anastas
, then of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, published the seminal book, Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice
, which includes the 12 principles of green chemistry still used today. He is co-founding president of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, the first of its kind.
In his talk, "Green Chemistry Innovation: New Eyes and New Ideas Collaborating for Sustainability," Dr. Warner explained the intricacies of green chemistry and the need to better educate scientists on the science.
Additionally, he promoted the idea of interdisciplinary collaboration in furthering sustainability practices. "What better time in history than today for all disciplines to join together and tackle this important issue?" he said. "We should celebrate the science of what we're doing to set a path for a sustainable future."
Dr. Warner is also co-founding president of Beyond Benign, a nonprofit that aims to promote sustainable science, along with his wife Dr. Amy Cannon
, its executive director, who spoke as part of the Biology Department's Friday Informal Seminar Hour (FISH program).
Her talk, "Green Chemistry and Biomimicry: Sustainable products through inspiration from nature and innovation in the laboratory," focused on ways Beyond Benign uses natural biological processes as a model for product development.
"Nature has had billions of years of evolution to figure it out," said Dr. Cannon. "We examine nature and see what we can use of its processes to make better products."
Some products the company has created include more efficient models of solar energy conductors and hair perm devices.
Dr. Warner created the world's first green chemistry Ph.D. program at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, while Dr. Cannon earned the world's first Ph.D. in green chemistry. (Story and photos by Rob Matheson, '07, Office of University Advancement)