Geoffrey W. Coates, the Tisch University Professor in the Department of Chemistry Chemical Biology, is one of 84 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the academy announced May 2.
Coates’ election brings to 60 the number of Cornell professors past and present – including Nobel laureates Hans Bethe (physics), Roald Hoffmann (chemistry) and Harold Varmus (Weill Cornell Medicine) – who have been elected to the academy since its inception in 1863.
Coates’ 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 use of renewable resources, and economical energy storage and conversion.
The Coates Research Group focuses on the development of new synthetic strategies for producing polymers of defined structure. This is accomplished through the development of new catalysts that control polymer composition, architecture, stereochemistry and molecular weight.
His group’s most recent work, “Combining Polyethylene and Polypropylene: Enhanced Performance with PE/iPP Multiblock Polymers,” was featured in the Feb. 24 issue of the journal Science.
Coates received his bachelor’s in chemistry from Wabash College in 1989, and his doctorate in organic chemistry from Stanford University in 1994. After postdoctoral studies at Caltech, he joined the Cornell faculty in 1997, and was appointed to the first Tisch professorship in 2008.
He teaches undergraduate organic chemistry as well as a graduate course on polymer chemistry.
An Alfred P. Sloan research fellow, Coates has received numerous awards from the American Chemical Society, including the A.C. Cope Scholar Award and the Affordable Green Chemistry Award, and was inducted to the American Academy of Science in 2011.
This article originally appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.