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Chemistry, both as a basic as well as an applied science, is of fundamental importance to our society. From food to clothing, from construction materials to nanoelectronics, from drugs to dyes, from cars to molecular machines; nothing would be possible without modern chemistry. Although not fully recognized by most people, chemistry is clearly one of the major technologies that have improved drastically the quality of our daily life. Nevertheless, despite the advances made, our science still offers significant challenges for the coming years. I am convinced that chemistry will also play a major role to provide solutions for the crucial problems of the next century:

  • Contributions to the use of alternative energy supplies (hydrogen technology, fuel cells, biomass to liquid, etc.).
  • The introduction of CO2-neutral raw materials for the chemical industry (use of renewable resources, carbon dioxide as a C1 building block, etc.).
  • The development of new pharmaceuticals (against Alzheimer's disease, cancer, HIV) and the enabling of new materials (performance polymers), molecular electronics, and more.
  • And last but not least, more sustainable processes for the production of bulk and fine chemicals (aniline, phenol, caprolactam, propylene oxide, polyurethanes, etc.).

What does all of this have to do with ChemSusChem? This new journal, which you are now reading, is devoted in a broad sense to the development of a more sustainable chemistry. Sustainability is the key subject of all the goals mentioned above. ChemSusChem aims to bring together leading chemists from different fields to present their latest accomplishments and delineate the challenges for the future of the important and exiting aspects of sustainability. A glance at the content of the first issue reveals already the broad nature of the field, from improved catalytic methods to applications of renewables, from the conversion of solar energy to research on fuel cells.

The interdisciplinary nature of this journal offers interesting opportunities for its readers, and I hope that the scientific content will stimulate chemists from all areas to broaden their horizon and apply their specific knowledge towards sustainability. Whether your interests lie in synthetic organic chemistry, catalysis, energy, environment, materials, renewables, or reaction engineering, we hope that you will enjoy reading ChemSusChem and discover for yourself the emerging state of the art of this exciting field of chemistry.

Matthias Beller Rostock, Germany, January 2008

Biographical Information

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  2. Biographical Information

Matthias Beller and his group at the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis at the University of Rostock (Germany) are interested in applied homogeneous catalysis and the development and application of environmentally benign catalysts and synthetic methods. Beller studied chemistry at the Georg-August University Göttingen and completed his PhD in the group of L. F. Tietze in 1989. Following a postdoctoral fellowship with K. B. Sharpless at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Cambridge, MA), he joined Hoechst AG (Frankfurt), where among other things he directed the “Homogeneous Catalysis” project at the company's central research unit. In 1996 he joined the faculty at the TU München, and in 1998 he relocated to the University of Rostock to head the Institute for Organic Catalysis. Since 2006, he has been Director of the newly formed Leibniz Institute for Catalysis. Beller is the author of nearly 300 publications and co-edited the two-volume compendium “Transition Metals for Organic Catalysis” (Wiley-VCH, 2004), now in its second edition. His work in the area of homogeneous catalysis has been recognized by various honors and awards, including the Leibniz Prize (2006). Beller heads the GDCh working group “Sustainable Chemistry”.

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