Sep. 18, 2009
Green Energy Work Earns Emory Chemist Herty Medal
Green energy offers some of the most complex and compelling scientific challenges facing the world especially for students planning a career in research, says Emory chemist Craig Hill, winner of the 2009 Herty Medal.
The Georgia Section of the American Chemical Society gives the Charles H. Herty Medal each year to an outstanding chemist, chosen from 11 Southeastern states. The Atlanta award celebration Sept. 17-18 includes a banquet, symposia and panel discussions where Hill will be the featured speaker.
“This is a chance to talk to a lot of young scientists – both undergraduate researchers and high school students – about how exciting science is right now,” says Hill, Goodrich C. White Professor of Chemistry. “I derive great joy from teaching young scholars how to tickle out Mother Nature’s secrets and how to invent.”
‘Doing chemistry with the sun’
The theme of Hill’s talks will be green energy, including a description of his recent work on developing the first prototypes of stable, molecular water oxidation catalysts – a critical component in making solar energy cheap and efficient enough to go mainstream.
“People love the idea of doing chemistry with the sun to create a source of energy that is sustainable and not damaging to the planet,” Hill says. “It’s an idea at the nexus of need, scientific invention and creativity.”
The difficult problems surrounding green energy will require scientists from many disciplines and perspectives to solve, he adds. “I want students to know that you don’t have to be good at memorization or make straight ‘A’s. Many brains are better than one, and all different talents can be useful in the research world.”
Since joining Emory in 1983, Hill has mentored 100 graduate students and post-doctoral associates. He has also collaborated with top scientists from Emory and throughout the world on his innovative green chemistry solutions. His seminal work on processes needed to convert solar energy into hydrogen laid the groundwork for Emory’s Renewable Energy Center, established this fall.
Some of Hill’s other recent honors include being elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Distinguished Fellow of the Victorian Institute of Chemical Sciences and Chair of the National Science Foundation Workshop in Inorganic Chemistry for 2007-2009. He also served as a Nobel Prize in Chemistry nominator for 16 years and as the editor of the New Journal of Chemistry and other journals.
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