Department News

William Jones Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

April 23, 2021

Professor JonesWilliam D. Jones, Charles F. Houghton Professor of Chemistry, has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Founded in 1780, the Academy honors excellence and convenes leaders from every field of human endeavor to address issues of importance to the nation and the world. Studies performed by the Academy have helped set the direction of research and analysis in science and technology policy, as well as international affairs, social policy, education, science and the humanities. Election to the Academy is highly selective and reflects the esteem in which new members are held.

“Bill’s election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences clearly demonstrates his excellence in catalysis and bond activation chemistry, with key publications ranking as citation classics. Bill is widely appreciated as a global leader in mechanistic organometallic chemistry and has served the chemistry community in many ways, including 17 years as Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, the premier journal in the field.”
Rich Eisenberg, Tracy Harris Professor Emeritus, Department of Chemistry

Jones has been at the University since 1980 and is currently the Charles F. Houghton Professor of Chemistry. He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and attended MIT as an undergraduate, followed by graduate work with Robert G. Bergman at California Institute of Technology. After one year of postdoctoral research at the University of Wisconsin, Jones commenced his independent career at Rochester. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1984, Professor in 1987, and is now the Charles F. Houghton Professor of Chemistry. Professor Jones has received numerous awards, including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow (1988), the ACS Award in Organometallic Chemistry (2003), an ACS Cope Scholar Award (2009), the Royal Society of Chemistry Organometallic Chemistry Award (2017), and a Humboldt Research Award (2018). He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2009), and a Fellow of the American Chemical Society (2010). Jones leadership within the chemistry community includes serving as an Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Chemical Society from 2003-2020 and as Chair of the Gordon Research Conference in Organometallic Chemistry in 2000. He has given a number of plenary lectures at international conferences.

Professor Jones' research interests include organometallic research in strong C-X bond cleavage, catalysis, model studies, mechanisms, kinetics, thermodynamics, and synthetic applications. Some examples include: (1) the activation of C-H bonds in substituted hydrocarbons, (2) the cleavage of carbon-carbon bonds in alkynes and nitriles, (3) C-S cleavage and hydrogenation of thiophenes, (4) electrophilic activation and functionalization of non-activated substrates, (5) the direct amination of benzene to form aniline, (6) the electrochemical oxidation and reduction of hydrogen-storing fuels, and (7) catalysis of the conversion of ethanol into butanol. These projects all involve synthetic and mechanistic studies involving organometallic compounds.

"Bill is an exemplary teacher and mentor, an eminent scholar, and a fantastic colleague. I speak for the entire Chemistry Department when I say we are delighted that Bill was recognized for his research excellence by his election into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences."
Professor Todd Krauss, Chair of the Department of Chemistry

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