Markus Antonietti, noted chemist and director of the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces, will present a guest lecture 2:30 p.m. Friday, March 12, as part of the Highlands in Chemistry seminar series, hosted by the Virginia Tech Department of Chemistry.

Established in 1966, the Highlands seminar series has long brought renowned scholars to Virginia Tech from across the world, notably including three Nobel laureates within the past five years. As with many campus-based events, the seminar series has transitioned to a virtual format, with Antonetti presenting his lecture via Zoom. Registration is required through the Department of Chemistry, part of the Virginia Tech College of Science.

Educated at the University of Mainz in Mainz, Germany, Antonietti has become known as a leader in polymer chemistry. In 1993 he was jointly appointed director for colloid chemistry at the Germany-based Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces and full professor at the University of Potsdam. He has since received numerous awards and appointments, including being named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2006 and the Staudinger Prize of the Germany Chemical Society in 2020.

“Markus Antonietti is a world-renowned scientist,” said Guoliang “Greg” Liu, an associate professor of chemistry and the faculty host for Antonietti’s virtual visit. “His research spans a wide range of topics from polymer to carbon materials and from catalysis to energy sciences. He is a fearless leader of the scientific frontier.”

Antonietti's lecture is titled “the Carbon-Nitrogen-Materials space: from super-catalysts to new energy storage to unexpected quantum effects,” and will focus on carbon nanostructures, which, according to Antonietti, have proven to be efficient candidates for artificial photosynthesis and heterogeneous organic catalysis. He also will discuss heterojunction chemistry and how the structure of gold can be altered for the purposes of catalysis. His talk will discuss how these types of materials can be applied for novel energy storage for supercapacitors and battery applications.

“It is absolutely a treat for us to have him as our Highlands Seminar speaker,” Liu added. “I am confident that we will learn not only the great science that he has done, but also the inspiration of science that is to be done in the future. Together with the students and post-doctorate researchers, I am so grateful that we can have such a great learning opportunity.”

The Highlands in Chemistry seminar series is open to all members of the university community. Its goal: share research ideas within the chemistry community and beyond. Speakers in academia, industry, and government come from around the world to share their research with colleagues and students. The series was started by Alan Clifford, who was appointed chemistry department head in 1966, and is now on its 51st year.

Written by Corrin Lundquist, public relations officer and assistant to the chair in the Department of Chemistry.