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Emory chemist Craig Hill elected to Academia Europaea

Craig L. Hill, Goodrich C. White Professor of Chemistry, is the first Emory faculty member to join the Academia Europaea. Photo courtesy of Craig Hill.

Craig L. Hill, Goodrich C. White Professor of Chemistry at Emory University, has been elected to the Academia Europaea (EA), the Academy of Europe.  

The EA is a European non-governmental association of scholars from the physical sciences and technology, biological sciences and medicine, mathematics, the letters and humanities, social and cognitive sciences, economics and law, who are recognized as global leaders in their field. The 3,000 scholars in its ranks, from 35 European countries and eight non-European countries, include 38 Nobel Prize winners.  

Hill will be formally inducted into the EA during its annual conference in Barcelona, Spain, in July 2014. He is the first Emory faculty member to join the EA, and one of only seven Americans elected to the chemical sciences section of the association during its 25-year history.  

Hill joined Emory in 1983 and is a pioneer of green chemistry and molecular cluster science.  

Decades ago, he imagined many practical applications for catalysts to speed up gradual natural processes and facilitate unprecedented ones.  He borrowed from nature’s principles to create complex molecular clusters called polyoxometalates, or POMs – inorganic nanoscale compounds that now promise a wide range of applications in various technologies and medicine.  He and his colleagues at other universities, national laboratories and an international consortium of companies developed an environmentally friendly paper producing process, using POMs to break down wood pulp without discharging the usual toxic byproducts.  

More recently, Hill has focused on what he calls one of the leading challenges facing civilization: Sustainable sources of fuel. He is working on perfecting a water oxidation catalyst, a key aspect of mimicking plant photosynthesis to generate solar fuel in ways that are powerful and efficient enough for practical application. The Hill group has developed the fastest homogeneous water oxidation catalyst to date and other components needed for artificial photosynthesis systems.  

Invitations for EA membership are made only after peer group nomination, scrutiny and confirmation as to the scholarship and eminence of the individual in their chosen field. Election is confirmed by the Council of the Academia.  

Hill is also a fellow of the American Association of Arts and Sciences. He has received three awards of the American Chemical Society, the USDA National Group Honor Award for Excellence in Research and the Albert E. Levy Science Research Award, among many other awards and honors.

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