Leaders from Qatar Petrochemical Company (QAPCO) and Texas A&M University at Qatar participated in a symposium held last week in College Station, Texas, to recognize Dr. Robert H. Grubbs’ appointment as an adjunct faculty member and inaugural holder of the QAPCO Chair in Polymer Science and Engineering.
Texas A&M University hosted the Strategy and Design in Transition Metal-Catalyzed Reactions Symposium on 27 Sept. 2012 in honor of Grubbs, the Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology and 2005 Nobel laureate in chemistry.
Dr. Mohammed Yousef Al-Mulla, vice chairman and chief executive officer of QAPCO, visited College Station on the occasion of the symposium. He was received and honored by University President Dr. R. Bowen Loftin, Provost Dr. Karan L. Watson and Dr. H. Joseph Newton, dean of the College of Science. Dr. Al-Mulla was presented with a gift on behalf of the University in appreciation of QAPCO’s ongoing support.
Texas A&M at Qatar and QAPCO entered into an agreement in April 2012 in which the corporation endowed a fund for the University to bring a Nobel Laureate to Qatar each year. The fund provides for bringing the chair recipient to Qatar annually under the auspices of Texas A&M at Qatar.
Grubbs spoke about synthesis of large and small molecules using olefin metathesis catalysts. His overall research involves design, synthesis and mechanistic studies of complexes that catalyze basic organic transformations. His recent focus has been on olefin metathesis reaction.
Dr. Mark H. Weichold, dean and CEO of Texas A&M at Qatar, said Grubbs would contribute to and expand the scope of research and development in these areas, which are important to the industrial and economic growth of Qatar.
“Having him in Qatar and interacting with students, faculty, staff and important industry partners will add to the depth and breadth of experience and the creation of new knowledge in the country,” he said.
Dr. Hassan S. Bazzi, associate professor of chemistry and Science Program chair at Texas A&M at Qatar, said Grubbs is a pioneer in designing new catalytic systems.
“Dr. Grubbs has more than 500 publications and 115 patents based on his research. This is a great milestone for Qatar and its educational development as it moves toward the realization of the Qatar National Vision 2030, and we are pleased to be able to host this symposium at College Station,” he said.
Al-Mulla said he was delighted to be present at the symposium to honor Grubbs. “QAPCO and Texas A&M have, over many years, built an excellent long-term relationship — a partnership that has nurtured and encouraged a vision that has allowed world class research & development to be successfully implemented in the State of Qatar,” he said.
“It is vital for the future of our great country that collaboration between local industry and higher education continues as it is the corner stone of all our industrial, educational and economic goals,” Al-Mulla continued. “It is also important that we continue to attract the best academic minds to Qatar, and it is a bold statement of our intent that Professor Grubbs, a Nobel laureate, has decided to take up this position as the QAPCO Chair in Polymer Science and Engineering. I am sure that his contribution to research will have a great impact on our industry.”