Geoffrey Coates, PhD, is a professor of chemistry at Cornell University, where he leads the Coates Research Group. The research focus of the Coates Group is the development of new catalysts for the synthesis of macromolecules as well as small molecules. Professor Coates’ research concentrates on developing new methods for reacting commodity feedstocks in unprecedented ways. His current research centers on the development of homogeneous catalysts for olefin polymerization, heterocycle carbonylation, epoxide homo- and copolymerization, and the utilization of carbon dioxide in polymer synthesis. In 1989, he received a BA in chemistry from Wabash College, and in 1994 as a Hertz Fellow, a PhD in organic chemistry from Stanford University. His thesis work, under the direction of Robert M. Waymouth, investigated the stereoselectivity of metallocene-based Ziegler-Natta catalysts. Following his doctoral studies, he was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow with Robert H. Grubbs at the California Institute of Technology. During the summer of 1997 he joined the faculty of Cornell University as an assistant professor of chemistry. He was promoted to associate professor in 2001, and to professor in 2002.
Geoff is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, and has received awards from the ACS (A. C. Cope Scholar Award, Affordable Green Chemistry Award, A. K. Doolittle Award, Carl S. Marvel – Creative Polymer Chemistry Award, and Akron Section Award), NSF (CAREER), MIT Technology Review Magazine (TR 100 Award), Research Corporation (Innovation Award), Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation (Young Investigator Award), David and Lucile Packard Foundation (Fellowship in Science and Engineering), and Dreyfus Foundation (Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty and Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards). In 2006, he received the Stephen and Margery Russell Distinguished Teaching Award at Cornell University and became a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2011 he was identified by Thomson Reuters as one of the world’s top 100 chemists on the basis of the impact of his scientific research, and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. In 2017, he became an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences.