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  • William B. Tolman

    Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Department Chair

    • Inorganic & Organometallic Chemistry, Bioinorganic Chemistry and Catalysis
    • Organic Chemistry, Organometallic Catalysis
    • Chemical Biology, Metalloprotein Active Sites
    • Polymer Chemistry, Polymer Synthesis
    • Energy & Catalysis
    • B.S. Wesleyan University, 1983 (Alan Cutler)
    • Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1987 (K. Peter C. Vollhardt)
    • Post Doctorate Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1987-1990 (Stephen J. Lippard)
    Office: 139A Smith Hall

Principal Research Interests

Current research in the Tolman group encompasses synthetic bioinorganic and organometallic/polymer chemistry. In the bioinorganic area, our objective is to gain a fundamental structural, spectroscopic, and mechanistic understanding of metalloprotein active sites of biological and environmental importance via the synthesis, characterization, and examination of the reactivity of model complexes. The current goal of our research in the organometallic/polymer area is to synthesize and characterize a variety of metal complexes for use as catalysts for the polymerization of cyclic esters and for converting biomass feedstocks to useful monomers. In this project, particular emphasis is being placed on developing controlled synthesis of polymers derived from renewable resources.

Tolman landing page research graphic #1
Tolman landing page graphic 2

Honors and Awards

  • American Chemical Society Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry, 2017
  • Charles E. Bowers Teaching Award (College of Science & Engineering, University of Minnesota), 2012
  • Fellow of the American Chemical Society, 2010
  • Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2006
  • Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Award (@Technical University of Munich), 2004
  • Research Award, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, 2004
  • Buck-Whitney Medal (American Chemical Society, Eastern New York Section), 2001
  • Distinguished McKnight University Professorship (University of Minnesota), 2000
  • George W. Taylor Award for Excellence in Research (University of Minnesota), 1998
  • Camille & Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, 1994-1999
  • National Young Investigator Award (National Science Foundation), 1993-1998
  • Bush Sabbatical Supplement Award (University of Minnesota), 9/96-6/97
  • Visiting Professorship, Miller Institute for Research (University of California, Berkeley), 1/97-5/97
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, 1994-1996 
  • Searle Scholar Award (Chicago Community Trust), 1992-1995
  • McKnight-Land Grant Professorship (University of Minnesota), 1992-1994
  • George W. Taylor Career Development Award (University of Minnesota), 1994
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship (American Cancer Society), 1988-1990
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship (National Institutes of Health), 1987-1988
  • W.R. Grace Fellowship (University of California, Berkeley), 1984-85
  • University Fellowship (University of California, Berkeley), 1983-84
  • University Honors (Wesleyan University), 1983
  • Phi Beta Kappa (Wesleyan University), 1983
  • Sigma Xi (Wesleyan University), 1983
  • Analytical Chemistry Award, American Chemical Society (Wesleyan University), 1982

Mailing Address

  • William B. Tolman, University of Minnesota, Department of Chemistry
  • B-20, 139 Smith Hall, 207 Pleasant St SE
  • Minneapolis, MN 55455-0431