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beach polluted with plastic waste




for Members

Sustainable Polymers

Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 11:30 AM - 12:45 PM EDT


Presented By

New York Academy of Sciences


The plastics revolution that began in the 1960s has continued unabated. By 2015, the world had produced over 7.8 billion metric tons of plastic, which has left the planet littered with non-biodegradable consumer goods. Scientists today recognize this problem and are devising innovative methods for the production of sustainable polymers. This webinar will feature the latest efforts by two leading researchers to create exciting new polymeric products that reduce environmental impact and to address the plastics that already litter our oceans and landfills.

In This Webinar, You’ll Learn

  • The scope of the problem of plastics pollution
  • The differences between recycling and upcycling
  • New strategies for the synthesis of novel, sustainable polymers
  • Problems and pitfalls associated with polymer production
  • Future directions for the plastics industry
Geoff Coates

Geoffrey Coates, PhD
Cornell University

Geoffrey Coates is the Tisch University Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University.  He grew up in Indiana and received his undergraduate education at Wabash College and his graduate education at Stanford University.  While at Stanford he worked under the direction of Robert M. Waymouth. He then went on to do an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship with 2005 Nobel Laureate Robert Grubbs. He moved to Cornell as Assistant Professor in 1997 where he has been ever since.  His current research focuses on the development of homogeneous catalysts for olefin polymerization, heterocycle carbonylation, epoxide homo- and copolymerization, and the utilization of carbon dioxide in polymer synthesis.

Will Dichtel

William R. Dichtel, PhD
Northwestern University

William Dichtel is the Robert L. Letsinger Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University.  During his undergraduate education at MIT, he gained research experience working in the laboratory of Professor Tim Swager before moving to UC Berkeley for his graduate studies with Prof. Jean Fréchet. Will then did a joint postdoctoral appointment with 2016 Nobel Laureate Sir Fraser Stoddart (then at UCLA) and Prof. James Heath at Caltech. His first independent position was at Cornell University, where he was hired as Assistant Professor in 2008, where he rose to the title of Associate Professor before moving to Northwestern University in the summer of 2016. Will's current research focuses the design and synthesis of covalent organic frameworks (COFs) for a wide variety of applications.