Renowned chemist to speak at Eastern Michigan University about a future through green chemistry

by Debra Johnson, Published May 22, 2013


YPSILANTI - The history of green chemistry and how the next generation of materials designers can create a safer and more sustainable future will be discussed during the Jean Dreyfus Boissevain Lecture series at Eastern Michigan University.


Dr. John Warner

This year's distinguished speaker will be Dr. John Warner, president and chief technology officer of Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, LLC. Warner will talk about Green Chemistry: The Missing Element on Wednesday, May 29, at 4:30 p.m., in room 156 of the Science Complex. He will also speak about Entropic Control in Materials Design on Thursday, May 30, at 1:30 p.m., in room 154.

Warner received his bachelor of science from the University of Massachusetts, in Boston and his Ph.D., in chemistry from Princeton University. In 2007, he founded the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, LLC, a research organization that develops green chemistry technologies. He also founded Beyond Benign, a non-profit organization dedicated to sustainability and green chemistry education.

He has published over 200 patents, papers and books and his recent work in the fields of semiconductor design, biodegradable plastics, personal care products, solar energy and polymeric photoresists are examples of how green chemistry principles can be immediately incorporated into commercially relevant applications.

The Jean Dreyfus Boissevain Lecture series is made possible by an $18,500 grant from The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. The foundation was established in 1946 by chemist, inventor and businessman Camille Dreyfus as a memorial to his brother Henry, to advance the science of chemistry, chemical engineering and related sciences as a means of improving human relations and circumstances.

The grant, secured by Maria Milletti and Harriet Lindsay, professors in the chemistry department at Eastern, provides funding to bring a leading researcher or scientist to campus to give a series of lectures in the chemical sciences and to support two undergraduates in summer research. 

Green chemistry, also called sustainable chemistry, is a philosophy of chemical research and engineering that encourages the design of products and processes that eliminate or minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances. Through green chemistry, environmentally benign alternatives to current materials and technologies can be systematically introduced across all types of manufacturing to promote a more environmentally and economically sustainable future.

The Jean Dreyfus Boissevain Lectures grant also provides a total of $9,000 in research awards, to be divided between two EMU chemistry undergraduate students. The award recipients are Chris Friebe and Yuan Ross, who will work full time on research projects throughout the summer semester alongside their research mentors.

The Jean Dreyfus Boissevain Lectures are the cornerstone event for the Summer Science Research Initiative, a series of supplemental activities for science and technology students who are on campus working on research projects with their faculty mentors during the summer months. 

"The purpose of the summer program is to create a community of scholars (both faculty and students) to share their ideas and get to know each other during a series of events such as general science lectures, laboratory tours and resume-building workshops," said Harriet Lindsay, professor in the chemistry department at Eastern.

This year's Science Research Initiative program will run from mid-May to mid-July. The Summer Science Research Initiative is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and by the chemistry and biology departments. For more information about this program, please contact Harriet Lindsay at or visit the The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation homepage.

Debra Johnson

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