Issue Date: September 8, 2008
Rocky Mountain Green
THE AMERICAN Chemical Society held its sixth annual Summer School on Sustainability & Green Chemistry at Colorado School of Mines, in Golden, on July 9–17. Hosted by ACS Board member Kent J. Voorhees, the program engaged 83 graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in lectures, discussions, and laboratory experiments designed to increase the participants' knowledge of green chemistry and its role in achieving sustainability.
The program began with a welcoming barbecue at Colorado School of Mines, an event that featured some products of the local Colorado breweries. On the first day of class, students learned about the principles of green chemistry and greener approaches to synthesis from two of the leaders in green chemistry, Paul T. Anastas of Yale University and John C. Warner of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry. The program participants were introduced to specialized areas of green chemistry by leading experts in the field. Buzz Cue, a Pfizer retiree, described green chemistry applications in the pharmaceutical industry. Joan F. Brennecke of the University of Notre Dame gave talks on energy, ionic liquids, and supercritical fluids. Kenneth M. Doxsee of the University of Oregon focused on green chemistry and sustainability, as well as the importance of green chemistry in education.
Several Colorado School of Mines faculty members gave presentations on their green chemistry and engineering research. Scott W. Cowley covered alcohol fuels and catalysis, Voorhees focused on bacterial identification, Kim P. Williams emphasized green separations, John R. Dorgan and Daniel M. Knauss highlighted advances in bioplastics, Anthony M. Dean described the kinetics of solid-oxide fuel cells, Matthew C. Posewitz detailed new sources of fuel from algae, and Ryan M. Richards talked about nanoscale materials for catalysis.
Many of the participants presented their research during two poster sessions held in the atrium of the chemistry building, Coolbaugh Hall. Students also learned about sustainability at Coors through a behind-the-scenes tour of the Coors Brewery, in Golden, and they were rewarded for their long hours in the classroom and lab with a day spent hiking and rafting in the beautiful mountains of Colorado.
The program concluded with a presentation by ACS Green Chemistry Institute Director Bob Peoples, who emphasized what a great time it is to be a green chemist. ACS Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Madeleine Jacobs addressed the participants during the closing banquet, providing guidance on successful careers and lives to the graduate students and postdoctoral scholars.
The 2008 program was sponsored by the Argosy Foundation, Rohm and Haas, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute, the Petroleum Research Fund, Colorado School of Mines, and Sigma-Aldrich. Artina T. Norris of the ACS Education Division and I organized the 2008 summer school.
In addition to sponsoring the 2008 summer school, the Argosy Foundation supports the Alpine Conservation Partnership, also based in Golden. Argosy arranged a reception for the summer school participants at the American Alpine Club, introducing the students to a nongovernmental organization that is focusing on another aspect of sustainability: the protection of the alpine ecosystem.
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