Ertl-Lecture with Prof. Yaghi on 10 December

December 10, 2021

Only a few weeks ago, he attracted attention with a research publication on the topic of "Water Extraction in the Desert" in the scientific journal "Science": Prof. Dr. Omar M. Yaghi, chemistry professor at the University of California, Berkeley (USA) and winner of the Gerhard Ertl Lecture Award 2021, gave an outstanding lecture on "Reticular Chemistry and Precision Reactions in Infinite 2D and 3D" on 10 December 2021, the anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Gerhard Ertl. The online event has been livestreamed from 4pm (Berlin time zone).

In October, Prof. Yaghi, together with Prof. Joachim Sauer from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, among others, announced a new research success in the journal "Science". The German-American research team has been working for years on methods to extract water from desert air. Porous metal-organic materials play an important role in this. Water molecules from the air can be captured particularly well in their cavities. The team has now analysed the molecular chemical processes of water extraction and optimised the materials with which water can be extracted from dry air. "This is an example of the excellent research work of our prize winner, who on the one hand conducts basic research, but on top of that also deals with current problems of our time," Prof. Dr. Gerard Meijer, Managing Director of the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, praised him.

With his discovery of indeterminate two- and three-dimensional organometallic and covalent organic frameworks, Prof. Yaghi laid the foundation for the new field of chemistry of network-like structures that link molecular building blocks through strong bonds to form crystalline extended spaces. This new chemical space enabled him to use precision chemistry and important applications, as he has shown for hydrogen storage, carbon dioxide capture and, precisely, the extraction of water from desert air.

"We are delighted to be working so closely with Prof. Omar Yaghi," said Prof. Sabine Kunst, President of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. "It shows that global issues are also best addressed in international research networks."

The Ertl Lecture Award was established in 2008 by the three Berlin universities (Humboldt University, Technical University and Free University) and the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society to commemorate the award of the Nobel Prize to the Berlin scientist Prof. Dr. Gerhard Ertl in 2007. The prize, sponsored by BASF, includes a one-week research stay at the participating Berlin institutions.

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