The Big Deal About Green Chemistry

The many shades of green are hardly exclusive to the art world. For Dwight Tshudy, associate professor of chemistry, the path to becoming green has involved many steps, including inspiration, research and outreach. Tshudy explored each in his October 25 talk entitled, “Green Chemistry and Sustainability, What’s All This Then?” which he gave as the fall lecture for the North Shore Chapter of Sigma Xi. His talk reflected just a few of the many things happening in green chemistry at Gordon. Below is the abstract for  Tshudy‘s lecture:

Dwight Tshudy

“The term ‘green’ has been used by many as a synonym for ‘good for the environment.’ Green chemistry has also been touted for a number of years as a new and better way of doing chemistry. Sustainability has now become a buzzword to cover a multitude of activities, and its use has become fashionable in many circles. But what is the connection between ‘green’ and sustainability? How might it make a difference that would really matter to us?  These are big questions that should be discussed, debated, disagreed with and modified as we learn more of the world around us.

Sustainability and green chemistry are not black and white ideas, but ones that come with many shades and variations. There will be successes and also opportunities, both for green chemistry and sustainability. Ultimately we must act on the best of these ideas. At Gordon, we are exploring how TAML (tetra-amido-macrocyclic-ligand) catalysts can be used for chemical synthesis and degradation. These catalysts were developed by Terry Collins at the Institute for Green Science (at Carnegie Melon University) using biomimetic principles to try to mimic what naturally occurring enzymes are able to accomplish. Chemical approaches using catalytic reactions like these fall under the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry. Our understanding of sustainability and green chemistry can guide what takes place in the classroom, in the teaching laboratory, in the research laboratory, and beyond.”

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