Ludwig Mond 2013 Winner

Professor Christopher Cummins
Professor Christopher Cummins
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

For unparalleled synthetic, mechanistic, and reactivity studies of low-coordinate early-transition or actinide metal complexes containing unusual main-group ligands to discover novel chemistry of small molecules including N2, N2O, CO, CO2, and P4.

About the Winner

Christopher "Kit" Colin Cummins was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and grew up also in New Orleans, Louisiana and then in Bloomington, Minnesota. As a young man his interests included reading, raising butterflies, farming, fishing, canoe expeditions, sailing, gymnastics, and diving. 

In college, Kit benefited from formative undergraduate research experiences carried out sequentially in the laboratories of Professors Susan E Kegley, James P Collman, and Peter T Wolczanski, respectively of Middlebury College, Stanford University and Cornell University. He graduated from the latter institution with an AB degree in 1989. Following this he undertook inorganic chemistry graduate studies under the direction of Professor Richard R Schrock at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he obtained his PhD degree in 1993 with a thesis entitled "Synthetic Investigations Featuring Amidometallic Complexes".

Also in 1993 Kit joined the MIT chemistry faculty as an Assistant Professor (promoted to Professor in 1996) and launched an independent program of research devoted to exploratory synthetic inorganic chemistry. 

Highlights from this work include low-coordinate, anilide-supported complexes of the early metals titanium, vanadium, niobium, chromium, molybdenum, and also uranium, and novel small-molecule (N2, NO, N2O, CO, CO2, P4, RN3, RCN, arene) activation reactions effected by the new complexes. 

A related effort has been the development of methods for the generation of unsaturated nitrogen - and phosphorus-containing ligands and reactive intermediates, ultimately providing access to AsP3 and organo-phosphorus compounds efficiently starting from P4, and organic nitriles starting from N2. Another line of inquiry seeks a convergence of anion receptor chemistry, small molecule (O2, NO) redox, and coordination chemistry.  

Kit has had the immense pleasure and honor of working with many enthusiastic and talented research group members and collaborators who deserve credit in the greatest measure for the success of the projects.

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