No Rest for a Nobelist–Robert H. Grubbs

Robert H. Grubbs (1942–)
Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2005 (with Yves Chauvin and Richard R. Schrock) “for the development of the metathesis method in organic synthesis”

Grubbs, the Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry, talked about life after the Nobel in a recent interview.

“I really liked doing what I was doing before [the prize], so I’ve mostly continued doing that. I think my wife had the best statement on it. She said, ‘We now drink better wine and we dance more.’

“I’m getting old, so I’m going to have fun now. Part of what we’re doing is making better catalysts. . . . We’re also trying to define and find new transformations that use catalysts to convert a molecule, one into another one.

“There’s a new Hepatitis C treatment, and one of the molecules that is involved in that new treatment, which finally cures Hepatitis C, is a molecule made using our chemistry.

“And then another whole area which I’ve been working on for a long time, which is sort of my hobby now, is developing materials for biomedical applications.

“We probably have 10 different projects going now that are developing materials for really interesting [medical] applications. . . . It’s not biology; it’s what I call plumbing, and we’re having a good time developing these materials.

“The only thing going forward is that I hope we can have the opportunity to keep going for quite a while and these wonderful students keep showing up, and postdocs. I’d like to have a chance to do a few more things.”

Header image credit: Caltech