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ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry

January 8, 2007 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 85, ISSUE 2

Credit: Kitzsimons
Credit: Kitzsimons

Glenn Hess

Sponsored by the Aldrich Chemical Co.

After nearly a half century of service to Ohio State University, Sheldon G. Shore is being honored for his pioneering work in the area of boron hydrides, metal cluster carbonyls, and lanthanide transition-metal systems. "He is a modest person with an exquisite sense of humor whose life is devoted to inorganic chemistry," says University of Notre Dame chemistry professor Thomas P. Fehlner.

A member of Ohio State's chemistry department since 1957 and currently a Distinguished Professor of Mathematical & Physical Sciences and the Charles H. Kimberly Professor, Shore is the author of over 270 scientific publications and 12 patents. "There are few modern chemists who have contributed so much to the development of syntheses and fundamental concepts in inorganic chemistry," Fehlner remarks.

Shore is a key member of a community of chemists whose careers were influenced by the space race in the 1950s. The search for rocket fuels led to an increase in research on boron hydrides. "Though boranes were never destined to find major application as fuels, chemistry in general owes a great deal to the opening up of their chemistry, to which Shore has made a series of very significant, seminal contributions," says Ken Wade, a chemistry professor at Durham University, in England.

Within a month of Shore's arrival at Ohio State, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to be put into orbit. "The space race was on, and general support of scientific research in the U.S. increased," Shore recalls. "I was able to obtain continuous support from the National Science Foundation for a number of years."

His initial research at Ohio State dealt with cyclic boron nitrogen, boron oxygen, and boron sulfur compounds. "I came across a cylinder of pentaborane, a boron hydride with little-known chemistry at the time. And this was the beginning of an intensive program in the study of pentaborane and its derivatives," Shore says. This work, he explains, resulted in rational, high-yield syntheses of some of the rarer boron hydrides that previously were only obtained in small yields.

The availability of boron hydrides, Shore says, led to extensive studies including determination of relative Brønsted acidities of bridging hydrogens as a function of boron cage size, fluxional properties of bridging hydrogens, and syntheses of boron hydride anion analogs of carbocations and metallaborane complexes.

The late 1970s and early 1980s witnessed intense activity by organometallic chemists in the study of transition metal carbonyl clusters. "The relationship between boron hydrides and the cluster compounds was becoming increasingly apparent, and I entered the field, bringing with me techniques and concepts honed from my boron hydride experience," Shore says.

His work included the syntheses and study of a number of new ruthenium carbonylate anions and boron metal cluster systems, including a study of the mechanism of "water gas shift catalysis" by [HRu3(CO)11]-.

In the 1990s, Shore's focus shifted to the preparation and study of extended arrays containing combinations of lanthanides and transition metals. "A number of systems of new structural types have been prepared and characterized, and I am now engaged in converting these materials to heterometallic nanoparticles on oxide surfaces as heterogeneous catalysts," Shore says.

The award address will be presented before the Division of Inorganic Chemistry.



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