The Paul H. Emmett Award in Fundamental Catalysis is given in recognition of substantial individual contributions in the field of catalysis with emphasis on discovery and understanding of catalytic phenomena, proposal of catalytic reaction mechanisms and identification of and description of catalytic sites and species.
The award recognizes the contributions of Professor Christopher W. Jones to fundamental advances in catalysis at the interface between heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis. Specifically, his studies of silica and polymer-supported Pd(II) pincer complexes unraveled their behavior in Heck and Suzuki coupling reactions, where the complexes were demonstrated to form soluble ligand-free species that catalyzed traditional Pd(0)-Pd(II) pathways. His group has also developed a family of supported metal-salen complex catalysts for enantioselective reactions, including cooperative epoxide ring-opening reactions and olefin cyclopropanation. This work has focused on the stability and deactivation of these catalysts and clarified degradation pathways, allowing the implementation of stabilization strategies to enhance catalyst turnovers.