Awards Database

Cottrell Scholar Awards - 2013

Donald A. Watson

University of Delaware

Transition Metal Catalyzed Silyl-Sonogashira Reactions

A group of compounds known as “silylacetylides” are extraordinarily useful intermediates, or helpers, in the synthesis of complex and bioactive organic molecules. Watson proposes to develop a new way to create silylacetylides by using certain metal molecules to catalyze reactions in a group of compounds called “alkynes.” (Alkynes represent various forms of hydrocarbon. Acetylene, the main fuel for some welding torches, is the simplest alkyne.) If his work is successful, Watson could create a powerful new chemistry tool for science and industry. The education portion of his project calls for the development a bridge course to transition non-chemistry majors from the mathematical rigors of general chemistry to the qualitative/inductive reasoning required for organic chemistry. Entitled “Sex, Drugs and Alcohol: Organic Chemistry of Everyday Life,” Watson says the class will draw on practical examples of chemistry at work – presumably in positive, and not-so-positive ways. Some aspects of the course material will also be offered for use in freshman and high-school chemistry courses.

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