Noted ‘green’ chemist to speak at MTSU Science Bui...

Noted ‘green’ chemist to speak at MTSU Science Building Oct. 24

An expert in green and renewable chemistry will appear at MTSU Friday, Oct. 24, to talk about how science can help reduce waste and create more environmentally friendly processes and products.

Dr. William B. Tolman, chair of chemistry at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, will conduct a seminar on “Plastic from Plants: The Chemistry of Sustainable Polymers.”

Dr. William B. Tolman

The seminar, a continuation of the grand opening celebration for the new Science Building, will begin at 3:15 p.m. in amphitheater Room 1003 on the first floor of the facility, located at 440 Friendship St. on the south side of campus.

The public is invited. To find parking and the Science Building, a printable campus map can be found at

MTSU assistant professor Keying Ding said Tolman, who leads the Tolman Group Laboratory at his university, was invited so he can “share his great knowledge on sustainable and green chemistry development.”

“Dr. Tolman has led the whole department with faculty members, researchers and students toward a successful story on addressing sustainability issues with the focus on chemistry research, education and public outreach initiatives,” Ding said.

“As one of the investigators at the Center for Sustainable Polymers at the University of Minnesota, Tolman concentrates his research efforts on harnessing the renewable, functional, degradable and non-toxic polymers provided by nature for tomorrow’s advanced plastics.”.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said green or sustainable chemistry is a philosophy of chemical research and engineering that encourages the design of products and processes that minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances.

“Green chemistry represents the fundamental building blocks of sustainability,” Ding said. “The scientific and technological breakthroughs in green chemistry will be not only crucial to the global economy, but also have a great impact on the environment, such as consuming less energy for chemical production, limiting pollutants emissions and reducing waste disposal.”

Tolman is the Distinguished McKnight University Professor at Minnesota and has earned many honors in his career.

He is the second public speaker to appear at the MTSU Science Building this week.

Nobel laureate in chemistry Harry Kroto provided the first public lecture in the $147 million facility Oct. 20. Kroto shared the 1996 Nobel Prize with Robert F. Curl Jr. and Richard E. Smalley for their discovery of fullerenes, a series of carbon molecules, also known as “Buckminsterfullerenes.”

— Randy Weiler (