Synthetic chemistry involves harnessing the power of change in the microscopic world of atoms and molecules in a controlled way to create new things. Faculty exercise their talents to create new materials related to environmentally friendly consumer applications, new drugs that target specific forms of cancer, new catalysts that impact the energy field, new compounds that more efficiently harness the power of light, and new materials that can purify contaminated water.
Energy will be a major area of focus for synthetic chemistry, since the vast majority of the useful things ultimately derived from a barrel of oil result from chemical catalysis. Synthetic chemistry created those catalysts, and helped unravel the other essential steps required to make something useful. As we look forward to future triumphs in the area of synthetic chemistry, we can imagine new and fundamentally different chemistries that can actually make renewable bioenergy practical without exhausting our even more precious resources.