Paul Chirik

Sustainable chemistry
Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Chemistry
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Paul Chirik is the Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Chemistry and the Associate Chair, Department of Chemistry at Princeton University. He is a leading expert in the application of catalysis to challenges in sustainable chemistry. Catalysis is at the core of sustainable chemistry. Many catalytic processes, however, rely on elements that are expensive, in short supply or have a significant environmental footprint associated with their extraction and isolation. The Chirik group is exploring “modern alchemy” for sustainable chemistry – a concept defined as using ligand design to transmute the function of an earth abundant metal to mimic or ideally surpass the performance of more exotic precious elements. His research is focused on catalysts based on Earth-abundant transition elements like iron, cobalt, nickel, and most recently molybdenum, which allow for potentially less expensive and more sustainable chemistry.