Chemistry for a green planet

Nicholas Leadbeater: Associate Professor of Chemistry

Dr. Nicholas Leadbeater’s innate knack for explaining science clearly and simply has made him a regular guest on National Public Radio’s “Academic Minute” segments, which feature short vignettes with professors talking about their field of research and why it excites them. His “Academic Minute” topics have included the chemistry of artificial sweeteners, the biochemistry of highly targeted chemotherapy drugs, the science behind toast, the similarity between molecules and Legos, and a segment on molecular gastronomy that included a recipe for Coca Cola caviar.

Dr. Leadbeater, who began teaching chemistry at UConn in 2004, will talk about what enticed him to enter the field of chemistry and how he and other chemists are designing cleaner, greener, and more environmentally friendly ways to make molecules. Using real-world examples, he’ll explain how he and his research group have found ways to make their compounds with a fraction of the waste, in a fraction of the time, and at a fraction of the cost of other routes.

He is an associate professor of organic and inorganic chemistry at the University of Connecticut, where he heads the New Synthetic Methods Group, which focuses on the development of cleaner, greener and more efficient approaches for preparative chemistry. Dr. Leadbeater holds a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, where he was a research fellow until 1999, before moving to King’s College London and then to Storrs. He was awarded the University of Connecticut Excellence in Teaching award for the Physical Sciences in 2010. In 2011, he was awarded the Provost’s Faculty Development Abroad grant and is also involved in the Chemical Innovations Institute established by the Connecticut Legislature in June 2010.

Listen to Dr. Leadbeater on NPR

Nicholas Leadbeater on Breaking Bad’s Bad Chemistry