Omar M. Yaghi (B.S. 1985, SUNY-Albany, Ph.D. 1990 University of Illinois-Urbana, NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, 1990-1992, Harvard University) is the James and Neeltje Tretter Chair Professor of Chemistry at University of California, Berkeley, and a Senior Faculty Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He is the Founding Director of the Berkeley Global Science Institute whose mission is to build centers of research in developing countries and provide opportunities for young scholars to discover and learn. He is also the Co-Director of the Kavli Energy NanoScience Institute focusing on the basic science of energy transformation on the molecular level, as well as the California Research Alliance by BASF supporting joint academia-industry innovations. He is known for his key scientific contributions in the discovery and development of several extensive classes of new materials: metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) and covalent organic frameworks (COFs). These materials are useful in hydrogen and methane storage, carbon capture and conversion, water harvesting from desert air, and catalysis, to mention a few. The building block approach he developed has led to an exponential growth in the creation of new materials having diversity and multiplicity previously unknown in chemistry. He termed this field 'Reticular Chemistry' and defines it as 'stitching molecular building blocks into extended structures by strong bonds'. Among his awards are the Exxon Solid-State Chemistry Award from the American Chemical Society (1998), Sacconi Medal of the Italian Chemical Society (2004), Materials Research Society Medal (2007), Chemistry of Materials Award of the American Chemical Society (2009), Royal Society of Chemistry Centenary Prize (2010), King Faisal International Prize in Science (2015), Royal Society of Chemistry Spiers Memorial Award (2017), Albert Einstein World Award of Science (2017), BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Basic Sciences (2018), Wolf Prize in Chemistry (2018), Eni Award for Energy (2018), and Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Gregori Aminoff Prize (2019).
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Co-Director, Kavli ENSI, James and Neeltje Tretter Chair, Professor of Chemistry