Chemistry is truly the central science and underpins much of the efforts of scientists and engineers to improve life for humankind. TheMIT Department of Chemistryis taking a leading role in discovering new chemical synthesis, catalysis, creating sustainable energy, theoretical and experimental understanding of chemistry, improving the environment, detecting and curing disease, developing materials new properties, and nanoscience.
The Chemistry Education Office staff is responsible for administering the educational programs in the Department of Chemistry. Students can find answers to many questions about the undergraduate and graduate programs on the department website, and they are encouraged to stop by and see the staff in the office located in 6-205.
The student-run outreach programs in the Department of Chemistry aim to bring the excitement of chemical sciences to the community through lively demonstrations designed to illustrate a broad range of chemical principles. Graduate students visit science classes in high schools and middle schools in the Greater Boston area with a view to demystifying chemistry through hands-on experiments. ClubChem, an undergraduate chemistry organization, conducts Chemistry Magic Shows for elementary schools and youth programs in the Greater Boston area.
Chemistry is truly the central science and underpins much of the efforts of scientists and engineers to improve life for humankind. MIT Chemistry is taking a leading role in discovering new chemical synthesis, catalysis, creating sustainable energy, theoretical and experimental understanding of chemistry at its most fundamental level, unraveling the biochemical complexities of natural systems, improving the environment, detecting and curing disease, developing materials new properties, and nanoscience.
Current investigations in our laboratory focus on the development of new synthetic methods and strategies, and their application in the total synthesis of natural products and biologically important compounds. A major thrust of our current research is the design and invention of new cycloaddition and annulation strategies for the synthesis of carbocyclic and heterocyclic compounds. Many of the methods under study involve the application of unusual molecules and highly reactive species as building blocks for the construction of important classes of organic compounds. We are particularly interested in the chemistry of highly unsaturated conjugated molecules (such as vinylketenes, iminoacetonitriles, conjugated enynes, and vinylallenes), and unusually strained molecules such as arynes, cycloalkynes, and cyclic allenes.
The utility of the methods under development is being tested and refined through their application in the total synthesis of biologically active natural products. Recent accomplishments include the total synthesis of the antitumor antibiotic ascochlorin, the azulene antiulcer drug egualen sodium, and neurotoxic alkaloids isolated from poison dart frogs. Considerable progress has also been made toward the first practical synthesis of glycinoeclepin A, the hatching stimulus agent of the soybean cyst nematode, a major agricultural pest. Other studies focus on the synthesis of unusual polycyclic aromatic systems with novel electronic and spectroscopic properties. Finally, another area of research in our lab focuses on the development of environmentally benign methods for organic synthesis. In this connection, for example, we are investigating the utility of supercritical water and carbon dioxide as reaction media for organic synthesis.