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Geoffrey W. Coates

Tisch University Professor

Olin Chemistry Research Wing, Room 560A

Educational Background

  • Postdoc, Caltech
  • PhD, Stanford University
  • BA, Wabash College



Prof. Coates is the Tisch University Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University. His teaching and research interests involve science at the interface of organic, inorganic, and materials chemistry. The broader impacts of his research include benign polymers and chemical synthesis, the utilization of renewable resources, and materials safe and economical energy storage and conversion.


2017  Election to the National Academy of Sciences
2016  Kathryn C. Hach Award for Entrepreneurial Success, American Chemical Society 
2015  Award in Applied Polymer Chemistry, American Chemical Society 
2013  Doctor of Science, honoris causa, Wabash College 
2012  Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award 
2012  DSM Performance Materials Award 
2011  Election to American Academy of Arts & Sciences 
2011  World’s Top 100 Chemists, 2000-2010, Thomson Reuters   
2009  Carl S. Marvel Creative Polymer Chemistry Award, American Chemical Society 
2009  Award for Affordable Green Chemistry, American Chemical Society 
2006  American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow 
2001  Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, American Chemical Society 
2000  David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship in Science and Engineering 
2000  Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award 
2000  Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, Young Investigator Award 
1999  Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow 
1997  Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award 
1995  NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Chemistry 
1994  Arthur Amos Noyes Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Caltech 
1990  Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship


Polymer synthesis, stereoslective catalysis, mechanism of metal catalyzed reactions


  • Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Graduate Fields

  • Chemistry and Chemical Biology


The research focus of my group is the development of new synthetic strategies for producing polymers of defined structure. The control of polymer composition, architecture, stereochemistry, and molecular weight allows the indirect control of polymer properties via polymer morphology. Our research projects are interdisciplinary, addressing problems at the interface of organic, inorganic, organometallic, and polymer chemistry.



  1. Eagan, J. E.; Xu, J.; Di Girolamo, R.; Thurber, C. M.; Macosko, C. W.; LaPointe, A. M.; Bates, F. S.; Coates, G. W. “Combining Polyethylene and Polypropylene: Enhanced Performance with PE/iPP Multiblock Polymers” Science 2017, 355, 814−816.

  2. DiCiccio, A. M.; Longo, J. M.; Rodríguez-Calero, G. G.; Coates, G. W. “Development of Highly Active and Regioselective Catalysts for the Copolymerization of Epoxides with Cyclic Anhydrides: An Unanticipated Effect of Electronic Variation” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 7107−7113.

  3. Van Zee, N. J.; Sanford, M. J.; Coates, G. W. “Electronic Effects of Aluminum Salph Complexes in the Copolymerization of Propylene Oxide with Tricyclic Anhydrides: Access to Well-Defined, Functionalizable Aliphatic Polyesters” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 2755−2761.

  4. Long, B. K.; Eagan, J. M.; Mulzer, M.; Coates, G. W. “Semi-Crystalline Polar Polyethylene: Ester-Functionalized Linear Polyolefins Enabled by a Functional Group Tolerant, Cationic Nickel Catalyst” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2016, 55, 7106−7110.

  5. Zheng, Q.; Ma, L.; Khurana, R.; Archer, L. A.; Coates, G. W. “Structure-Property Study of Cross-Linked Hydrocarbon/Poly(ethylene oxide) Electrolytes with Superior Conductivity and Dendrite Resistance” Chem. Sci. 2016, 7, 6832−6838.

  6. Dunn, E. W.; Lamb, J. L.; LaPointe, A. M.; Coates, G. W. “Carbonylation of Ethylene Oxide to β-Propiolactone: A Facile Route to Poly(3-Hydroxypropionate) and Acrylic Acid” ACS Catalysis, 2016, 6, 8219−8223.

  7. John, A.; Miranda, M. O.; Ding, K.; Dereli, B.; Ortuño, M. A.; LaPointe, A. M.; Coates, G. W.; Cramer, C. J.; Tolman, W. B. “Nickel Catalysts for the Dehydrative Decarbonylation of Carboxylic Acids to Alkenes” Organometallics, 2016, 35, 2391−2400.

  8. Longo, J. M.; Sanford, M. J.; Coates, G. W. “Ring-Opening Copolymerizations of Epoxides and Cyclic Anhydrides with Discrete Metal Complexes: Structure-Property Relationships” Chem. Rev., 2016, 116, 15167−15197.

  9. Lamb, J. R.; Mulzer, M.; LaPointe, A. M.; Coates, G. W. “Regioselective Isomerization of 2,3-Disubstituted Epoxides to Ketones: An Alternative to the Wacker Oxidation of Internal Alkenes” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, 137, 15049−15054.

  10. Cowman, C. D.; Padgett, E.; Tan, K. W.; Hovden, R.; Gu, Y.; Andrejevic, N.; Muller, D.; Coates, G. W.; Wiesner, U. B. “Multicomponent Nanomaterials with Complex Networked Architectures from Orthogonal Degradation and Binary Metal Backfilling in ABC Triblock Terpolymers” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, 137, 6026–6033.