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Strem Lectureship at BC with Jonas Peters

An Engaging Lecture on Synthetic Iron Nitrogenases

On October 30th, Boston College held its annual Strem Lectureship in the auditorium of Merkert Hall, drawing a large crowd of students, faculty and other attendees.

Prof. Jonas C. Peters from the California Institute of Technology presented a lecture titled “Synthetic iron nitrogenases and how they work”.  Nitrogen fixation and its conversion to ammonia through the Haber-Bosch process is the most widely used technical process in chemistry, producing ammonia on a multi-million ton scale every year.  Without this process, it would be impossible to produce enough fertilizer to support the current world population.

A significant drawback of the Haber-Bosch process is its high operating temperature and pressure, which demand a tremendous amount of energy and contribute up to 2% of the world’s total annual energy consumption.  By contrast, nature is able to convert nitrogen to ammonia at ambient temperature and pressure using nitrogenase enzymes.  This difference in catalytic ability has motivated the exploration of alternatives to the Haber-Bosch process using organometallic compounds which mimic the structure and function of natural nitrogenases.  

In his talk, Prof. Peters explained what is currently known about the mechanism of nitrogen fixation in both biological and artificial systems, and how a deeper understanding of these processes could lead to alternative methods for technical nitrogen fixation.  He also highlighted how a focus on Fe—the only transition metal essential to all nitrogenases—led to his group’s discovery of functional nitrogenase mimics that operate under mild conditions.  The lecture was followed by an engaging Q&A session with many excellent questions raised by the students of Boston College.

The evening was concluded with a great dinner at La Morra in Brookline attended by Jonas Peters and several faculty of Boston College as well as employees of Strem Chemicals.

In recent years, the Strem Lectureship at Boston College has become a valued tradition, and Jonas Peters is the fourth lecturer in an illustrious series of speakers.


STREM Lectureships at BC:

2018 Jonas Peters (Caltech)

2017 David MacMillan (Princeton)

2016 Dean Toste (UC Berkeley)

2014 Michael Krische (Texas)



Prof. Peters is pictured above with some of our product booklets.  For these booklets and a full list of our product resources please see the links below:

Other Ligands

Phosphorus LIgands & Compounds


Full List of Product Resources  



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