11/17/16 - 9:45 AM to 11:00 AM
Department Seminar: Professor Gary Brudvig
"Water Oxidation by Photosystem II and Artificial Systems"
Photosystem II uses light energy to split water into protons, electrons and oxygen. In this reaction, Nature has solved the di cult chemical problem of e cient four-electron oxidation of water to yield oxygen without signi cant side reactions. In order to use Nature’s solution for the design of materials that split water for solar fuel production, it is important to understand the mechanism of the reaction. The structure of the oxygen-evolving complex and the water-oxidation chemistry of photosystem II will be discussed in the light of biophysical and computational studies, inorganic chemistry and X-ray crystallographic information. These insights on the natural photosynthetic system are being ap- plied to develop bioinspired materials for photochemical water oxidation and solar fuel production.
Alumnus Brudvig (BS, '76) has received an Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA) from the University of Minnesota. This award honors alumni for their unusual distinction in their chosen professions or in public service, and who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership on a community, state, national, or international level.
He is being honored for the impact of his many scientific contributions to the field of energy conversion both in biological and abiological systems, his extensive service contributions to his field, his outreach to the science education community in New Haven, and his effective mentoring of coworkers.
Professor Brudvig is chair of the Department of Chemistry at Yale University, and is also its Benjamin Silliman Professor. He has a joint appointment in the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, and is director of the Yale Energy Sciences Institute. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Minnesota in 1976, graduating with high distinction. He went on to earn his doctorate in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1981, and conducted post-doctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley. He began his career in academia at Yale University in 1982.
He is an outstanding researcher, focusing on solar energy conversion. One area of his research encompasses understanding the chemical mechanism by which oxygen is formed from two water molecules in photosynthesis. Many of Brudvig's more than 300 publications detail the structure of the intermediates and the complex, step-by-step events involved in the reactions of photosystem II, where oxygen formation occurs. His work is shedding light on manganese's role as an essential element in the formation of oxygen. His significant findings are important to understanding the biological production of oxygen necessary for sustaining life on the planet.
Professor Brudvig is also making an important impact on developing man-made catalysts for using solar energy to generate fuels that can be stored and used in place of the dwindling supply of fossil fuels. His primary focus is on the water-splitting reaction (artificial photosynthesis), which uses sunlight to convert water into oxygen and hydrogen.