Six researchers from the University of Kansas attended the Gordon Research Conference on Green Chemistry in Barcelona, Spain, July 29 to August 3. These meetings have a prestigious international reputation for “creating enduring scientific communities that advance the frontiers of research”.
Five of the six KU researchers were able to attend the event thanks to travel grants from the National Science Foundation. Travel grant awardees included Assistant Professor James Blakemore in chemistry, Research Associate Anand Ramanathan, and three graduate students, Amy Jystad, Amit Kumar and Charles Shaughnessy.
The conference was chaired by Bala Subramaniam, Dan F. Servey Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and Director for KU’s Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis (CEBC). It attracted over 150 participants, including leading researchers in green chemistry from various parts of the world. Several other CEBC collaborators attended as well, including Peter Wasserscheid of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität in Erlangen, Germany, and Yong Wang of Washington State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
"It was truly a privilege to chair this conference," said Subramaniam. "This will be one of the most cherished experiences of my professional career.”
Discussions during the meeting focused on how to develop scientific solutions to address global challenges for sustaining food, energy and water resources through green chemistry principles.
“It was more than just a forum for sharing technical research details,” said Blakemore. “It gave me a broader perspective about what a wide range of scientists in the chemical industry and academia are doing around the world to foster green chemistry.”
Blakemore was the discussion leader for a session on the theme of carbon dioxide and water electrocatalysis. Posters presentations included Jystad’s computer simulations of metal-doped silica clusters, Kumar’s work on heterobimetallic catalyst development, and Shaughnessy’s work in media development for carbon dioxide conversion.
At the end of the meeting, attendees elected leadership for the next meeting. Congratulations go to Blakemore’s student, Amit Kumar, for being elected Co-chair of the 2020 Gordon Research Seminar on Green Chemistry, an impressive leadership role that is quite an honor for a graduate student!
--Story by Claudia Bode