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Robert H. Grubbs
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Robert Howard Grubbs

(1942-02-27)February 27, 1942
Died December 19, 2021(2021-12-19) (aged 79)
Alma mater University of Florida
Columbia University
Known for the development of the metathesis
method in organic synthesis
Awards Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2005)
Scientific career
Fields Organic chemistry
Institutions California Institute of Technology

Robert Howard Grubbs (February 27, 1942 – December 19, 2021) was an American chemist. He won Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2005.

Personal life

In his Nobel Prize autobiography he says, "In some places, my birthplace is listed as Calvert City, Kentucky and in others Possum Trot (both in Marshall County). I was actually born between the two, so either one really is correct." He spent his early childhood in Marshall County and attended public school at McKinley Elementary, Franklin Junior High and Paducah Tilghman High School in Paducah, Kentucky. Grubbs studied chemistry at the University of Florida where he was awarded a B.S. and an M.S.. He worked with Merle Battiste in Florida University, and Columbia University, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1968. He was taught by Ronald Breslow in Columbia.

He next spent a year with James Collman at Stanford University. He was then made part of the faculty at Michigan State University. In 1978 he moved to California Institute of Technology where he still works as the Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry.

His main interest is for organometallic chemistry and organic chemistry. These interests are for catalysts, such as Grubbs' catalyst for olefin metathesis and ring-opening metathesis polymerization and norbornene. He also produced some important work on "living polymerization".

Grubbs died from a heart attack while receiving lymphoma treatment at a hospital in Duarte, California on December 19, 2021, at age 79.


Grubbs received the 2005 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with Richard R. Schrock and Yves Chauvin, for his work in the field of olefin metathesis.

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