Apr 11, 2020
Chemistry has given the world the incredible diversity of fuels, pharmaceuticals, and household products that we rely on every day, along with tremendous advances in fighting infectious diseases and ensuring an abundant food supply. But the products of chemistry also include tens of thousands of toxic compounds that compromise human health, degrade the environment, and drive species to extinction. The advent of the modern environmental movement in the 1960s and 1970s produced a new field of chemistry dedicated to providing for the needs of society with less toxic and less environmentally damaging alternatives. This intellectual endeavor coalesced into the field of green chemistry. My guest, Terry Collins, is a leading green chemist and one of the founders of the field. His education includes a bachelor of science in 1974 and a PhD in 1978, both from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. He held a faculty position at the California Institute of Technology in the 1980s before joining the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University in 1988, where he is now the Director of the Institute for Green Science and the Teresa Heinz Professor of Green Chemistry. Terry is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in 1998 and the Heinz Award for the Environment in 2010. He is also a Fellow of the American Chemical Society.