2009 Arduengo Lecture: Holger Braunschweig


Borylene Complexes as Reagents in Organic and Organometallic Synthesis
12:30 PM, Thursday, April 2nd, 2009
151 Shelby Hall
(Technical Talk)

Boron: Applications in Chemistry and Beyond
3:00 PM, Friday, April 3rd, 2009
151 Shelby Hall
(General Interest Talk)


Professor Dr. Holger Braunschweig, C4 Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Würzburg, was born in Aachen, Germany’s westernmost city, in 1961. Holger was raised and educated in Aachen before he engaged in two years of compulsory military service from 1981-83. He returned to his home city to obtain his Diplom in Chemistry in 1988 at Rheinisch Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen and remained at RWTH to earn his Ph.D. in 1990 with Prof. Dr. P. Pätzold. Following his graduate studies, Dr. Braunschweig moved to the University of Sussex in Brighton, England to serve as a DFG Postdoctoral Fellow with Professor M. F. Lappert. In 1992, Holger commenced his academic career by conducting his Habilitation at his beloved undergraduate and graduate institution. In 1998, Holger was appointed Privatdozent at the RWTH Aachen, however he moved to London in 2000 to accept a faculty position at Imperial College. After his promotion from Senior Lecturer to Reader in 2002, Holger returned to Germany to assume the position of C4 (highest rank) Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at Julius-Maximilians University, Würzburg. Professor Braunschweig has served as Dean/Vice Dean of the Faculty for Chemistry and Pharmacy there since 2004. Toward the end of his Habilitation in 1996, Holger married Dr. Katrin Schröder. Katrin and Holger have a son, Tobias, and daughter, Anna-Lea.

Professor Braunschweig has established a world-renowned research program at the interface of main group element and organometallic chemistry. He is recognized as a leader in the chemistry of borylenes, borirines, and a variety of boron-based heterocycles of unique structure and valency. The Braunschweig group also prepares metallocenophanes and uses the sandwich structures as catalysts for olefin polymerization. Other notable advances include preparations of π-conjugated materials and unique organometallic polymers, such as those featuring chromium as a structural unit. He has also developed a new class of borates for use as components of novel ionic liquids. Although much of Holger’s research effort focuses on unprecedented boron complexes and novel coordination modes to transition metals, his group likewise investigates organoaluminum and silicon compounds.

Professor Braunschweig was initiated as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) in 2002 and is a Member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. He has recently received the most prestigious German research award, a 2009 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize. This award is not only Germany’s highest scientific honor, but it also provides 2.5 million Euros (~$3.5 million) in unrestricted research support. Holger is a member of the editorial board of Organometallics,and he and his research group have over 160 peer-reviewed publications. Remarkably, 30 of these have been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society or Angewandte Chemie International Edition in just the past three years. This achievement is a testament to both the quality and innovation of Professor Braunschweig’s research. Given Holger’s energy, youth, and creativity, these accomplishments are undoubtedly just a hint of the seminal research yet to come from his laboratories.