BASF honours Harvard researcher

Dr Tobias Ritter wins the BASF Catalysis Award 2011

Tobias Ritter is honoured for his research into catalysis

Professor Dr Tobias Ritter of Harvard University in Cambridge (USA) has won the BASF Catalysis Award 2011 for his contributions to catalytic processes in organic synthesis.

The €10,000 prize was presented by Dr Friedrich Seitz, head of BASF’s Technology Platform Chemicals Research & Engineering, at the Heidelberg Forum of Molecular Catalysis, a symposium of international experts organised jointly by Heidelberg University, Collaborative Research Center 623 “Molecular Catalysts” and BASF SE.

‘Catalysis is a key technology for the chemical industry and is an indispensable tool for accessing new feedstocks and developing new energy efficient production processes,’ said Seitz.

‘As a company with a strong international research and development platform for catalysts, BASF therefore attaches particular importance to promoting talented young researchers in this field.’

Ritter is working, with his research group at Harvard University, US, in the field of synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry and, specifically, on the synthesis of complex molecules.

Mechanistic studies are ongoing to develop practical access to molecules of interest in catalysis, medicine and for new materials.

The research group is currently focusing on fluorination chemistry of complex compounds under mild reaction conditions. Such organic fluorine compounds, compared with compounds of other halogens, are difficult to synthesise in a controlled manner. However, they are of major interest and medical professionals use them for imaging techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET).

‘Our aim is to extend the universe of substrates for PET spectroscopy,’ said Ritter.

Ritter was born in 1975 in Lübeck, Germany and has already received numerous awards for his research. He has been based in Harvard since 2006 and was appointed associate professor in 2010.

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