Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering Division

2015 ACS Applied Polymer Science Award in Honor of Geoffrey Coates

Geoffrey Coates is the winner of the 2015 American Chemical Society Award in Applied Polymer Science.

Coates is the Tisch University Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University. Coates joined Cornell University as an assistant professor in 1997, was promoted to associate professor in 2001, professor in 2002, and in 2008 became the first Tisch University Professor.

Coates received a B.A. degree in Chemistry from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana in 1989 and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Stanford University in 1994. His thesis work, under the direction of Prof. Robert M. Waymouth, investigated the stereoselectivity of metallocene-based Ziegler-Natta catalysts. Following his doctoral studies, he was an Arthur Amos Noyes Postdoctoral Fellow and an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow with Prof. Robert H. Grubbs at the California Institute of Technology from 1994 to 1997.

Coates is an internationally renowned chemist whose research focuses on the development of new synthetic routes to novel polymeric materials. His research involves the discovery of new metal-based initiators and catalysts for the polymerization of commodity monomers, such as alkenes, epoxides, lactones, and cyclic anhydrides. Notably, Coates has developed sustainable routes to a range of biodegradable materials from renewable resources, such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Polymerization of these feedstocks with epoxides has resulted in a range of polycarbonates, polyesters, and acrylates, which are either in the process of commercial development or are in current use. Recent work focuses on the development of polymeric membrane materials for use in anion-exchange fuel cells and lithium ion batteries.

Coates is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, and has received the A. C. Cope Scholar, Affordable Green Chemistry, A. K. Doolittle, and Carl S. Marvel Creative Polymer Chemistry Awards from the American Chemical Society. Coates has also received awards from the NSF (CAREER), MIT Technology Review Magazine (TR 100 Award), Research Corporation (Innovation Award), Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation (Young Investigator Award), David and Lucile Packard Foundation (Fellowship in Science and Engineering), and Dreyfus Foundation (Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty and Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards). In 2006, he received the Stephen and Margery Russell Distinguished Teaching Award at Cornell University and became a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2011 he was identified by Thomson Reuters as one of the world’s top 100 chemists on the basis of the impact of his scientific research, and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He received the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award and the DSM Performance Materials Award in 2012.

Coates is the scientific cofounder of Novomer Inc., an emerging sustainable chemistry company ranked as one of the world’s most innovative and disruptive companies. Novomer is commercializing two distinct technology platforms, one which uses waste CO2 as a raw material to produce a family of polyols for use in polyurethane applications and another which uses waste CO to produce C3 and C4 drop-in chemicals. The foundation for these platforms results from catalyst research performed in the Coates Group at Cornell University.

Coates is currently the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of Novomer, is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of KensaGroup, and is a consultant for many of the world’s top chemical and materials companies. He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Boards of the Journal of Polymer Science, Chemical Reviews, ChemCatChem, Dalton Transactions, Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis, Advances in Polymer Science and the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Organic Chemistry Frontiers. He is an Associate Editor of Macromolecules.

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