Wednesday, February 24, 2016
6:00 pm Pizza
7:00 pm Lecture
California State University Long Beach
Hall of Science (HSCI), Room 103
1250 N. Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach CA 90815
“From Pentaborane to Uranium: How a Non-linear Career Path Through the Periodic Table Led to New Oxidation States for the
Rare Earth Metals and Actinides”
Prof. William J. Evans, UC Irvine
Abstract: A fundamental aspect of the chemistry of any element is the number of formal oxidation states available in molecules for chemical reactions. The range of accessible oxidation states for all of the elements has been continuously tested for decades and the boundaries were thought to be well-established across the periodic table. However, recently the special environment provided by three silyl-substituted cyclopentadienyl ligands led to the discovery of the first examples of formal +2 oxidation states in molecular complexes of nine metals: yttrium, holmium, erbium, praseodymium, gadolinium, terbium, lutetium, uranium, and thorium. In the thorium case, the metal has the electron configuration expected for superheavy elements like rutherfordium and dubnium. How did an undergraduate studying boron hydrides end up discovering new oxidation states of the f elements? This talk will retrospectively examine the career path that led to these discoveries and discuss the many “roads not taken” along the way.
Biography: William Evans was born in Madison, Wisconsin and raised in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. He received a B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin, where he did undergraduate research on pentaboranes with Professor Donald F. Gaines. He obtained a Ph.D. from UCLA under the direction of Professor M. Frederick Hawthorne studying metallocarboranes. He did postdoctoral research on transition metal phosphite complexes with the late Professor Earl L. Muetterties at Cornell University. When he began his independent career in 1975 at the University of Chicago, he chose an area of research completely different from his training and experience, namely the chemistry of the rare earth metals and actinides, with the central thesis that the special properties of these metals should lead to unique chemistry. After receiving tenure at Chicago in 1982, he was recruited to the University of California, Irvine, where he has been a Professor since 1983.
Prof. Evans has received the Richard C. Tolman Award of the Southern California Section of the American Chemical Society, the American Chemical Society Award in Inorganic Chemistry, the American Chemical Society Award in Organometallic Chemistry, the Sir Edward Franklin Award of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Frank Spedding Award for Excellence in the Science and Technology of Rare Earths, the Terrae Rarae Award of the Tage der Seltenen Erden Society in Germany, a Special Creativity Extension Award from the National Science Foundation, the UCI Physical Sciences Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education Award, the UCI Distinguished Faculty Award for Research. He was recently named Distinguished Professor by the University of California.
Cost: Pizza and soda are available for $5 per person. Please RSVP to Nancy Paradiso in the Section Office at firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, February 22nd at noon so we know how many people to plan for.
Directions: Directions and parking information are available at http://daf.csulb.edu/maps/parking/. The closest lots are Lots 17 and 18. There is a $5 charge for parking.